Local experts urge early detection of GERD symptoms – a chronic digestive disease and encourage seeking appropriate medical attention to improve quality of life
- On the occasion of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Awareness Week, Aster Hospital and Clinic initiates a nationwide programme to increase awareness of symptoms and treatment in order to alleviate discomfort for people suffering from the disease.
- Specialists at Aster Hospital and Clinic are receiving an increasing number of patients with this condition, with symptoms persisting for months. They often receive 2 to 3 patients a day with GERD. In the last 1.8 years, they have treated around 320 patients with the condition.
- According to a 2014 report, by Emirates Gastroenterology Society, around 30% of the population in the UAE suffers from GERD .
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when acid from the stomach flows backwards into the esophagus, causing a burning, acidic feel in the throat and chest. On account of GERD Awareness Week, observed from November 20-26, Aster Hospital and Clinic has initiated a “GERD Awareness Campaign” to educate the residents of UAE on alarm symptoms or critical symptoms associated with the disease, which if noted, should prompt medical attention. Through dedicated programmes for the general population, Aster aims to encourage early diagnosis and proper treatment that can improve the quality of life of people suffering from the condition.
“Increasingly sedentary lifestyles, consumption of oily and spicy food, obesity coupled with a lack of regular exercise are the risk factors contributing to the rise of GERD. Therefore, it is essential to equip UAE residents with the necessary information to avoid such a condition. Our awareness programme which will run throughout GERD Awareness week across our Hospital and Clinic in UAE aims to help people suffering from GERD to consult a healthcare professional and seek medical assistance” said Dr. Amal Upadhyay, Consultant Gastroenterology, Aster Hospital Mankhool.
The most common symptom of GERD is a burning chest pain beginning from behind the breastbone, moving upwards to the neck and throat, leaving an acidic or bitter taste in the mouth. Difficulty in swallowing, a dry cough, hoarseness of voice and sore throat are also possible symptoms of GERD. Given the atypical symptoms of GERD, they are often mistaken for a heart condition or throat infection, leading to a delayed diagnosis. Other symptoms include regurgitation of food or sour liquid (acid reflux) as well as a sensation of a lump in one’s throat. GERD could also remain asymptomatic in some individuals. Although many people experience acid reflux every now and then, those who experience frequent and intractable symptoms should seek prompt medical attention. Rarely but importantly, in some patients, untreated GERD can lead to complications including cancer. Any such complications if diagnosed early can be controlled and treated.
A series of corporate and community talks under the GERD Connect Programs will focus on healthy eating habits, while radio talks organised by Aster will reach out to a wider audience across the UAE, educating residents about changes in lifestyle that can prevent GERD. In addition, Aster will distribute information booklets at Aster Hospital in Mankhool and all Aster Clinics across Dubai; create informative and educative articles and blog posts about GERD; and circulate live videos of specialist gastroenterologists, in order to spread awareness of the causes, myths, prevention, diagnosis and treatment available for GERD. The programmes also aim to motivate patients to adopt lifestyle changes that could help reduce the risk of suffering from GERD.
To further spread the message of awareness, Aster Hospital and Clinic will also be launching a risk assessment questionnaire targeting around 10,000 people across various corporates. The questions will allow participants to better assess themselves on the alarm symptoms of GERD and other symptoms which are usually disregarded.
Aster specialists follow best practices to decrease pain and alleviate the suffering of GERD patients. Although GERD symptoms are generally controlled with drugs, specialists recommend addressing the underlying cause of the disease. Doctors also encourage patients to adopt lifestyle changes that can help in managing the disease, including maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding food and drinks that can trigger heartburn, quitting smoking, eating smaller meals and allowing enough time for meals and sleep. Other treatments available at Aster Hospital include endoscopic intervention, STRETTA procedure (FDA approved), and treatment of obesity. Aster also offers specialised tests as well as laparoscopic surgery for GERD (anti-reflux surgery) where required.
Dr. Amal Upadhyay,
Aster Hospital Mankhool.
News Source : www.godubai.com