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Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors of Anemia and How to Prevent Them

Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors of Anemia and How to Prevent Them

Overview of Anemia

Anemia is a medical condition in which the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells which is needed to carry oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues.

There are many different types and causes of anemia of which Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type.

Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron to make hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells (RBC’s) that carries oxygen.

Untreated IDA can cause problems such as fatigue and lack of energy. IDA is the most common form of anemia worldwide.

Anemia can also make you feel cold and weak. You may also have trouble breathing, and your heart may have to work harder to pump blood.

Other causes of anemia include blood loss, certain chronic diseases, and bone marrow problems.
Anemia can be serious, but it’s often treatable.

If you think you may be at risk for anemia, or are experiencing symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor.

We discuss everything you need to know about Anemia and how you can prevent this from affecting your quality of life.

 

What is Anemia

 

If you’re feeling tired and run down, it could be more than just the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You could be experiencing iron deficiency anemia.

Anemia is a blood disorder that occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells in the body.
Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

There are many different types of anemia, each with its own cause.

Some types of anemia are more serious than others. The most common type of anemia is iron-deficiency anemia.

It occurs when the body does not have enough iron. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.

 

 

Types of Anemia

There are three types of anemia:

Iron Deficiency Anemia: This is the most common type of anemia. It is caused by not getting enough iron in the diet or by losing too much blood.

Blood Loss Anemia: This type of anemia can be caused by bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, heavy menstrual bleeding, or blood loss from injury or surgery.

Chronic Disease Anemia: This type of anemia can be caused by certain chronic medication.


Causes of Anemia

 

Anemia is a condition that can be caused by a variety of factors.

Common causes include:

  • Blood loss
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Certain medications or treatments

Anemia can be a serious condition, so it is important to get treatment.

 

Symptoms of Anemia

There are a variety of symptoms associated with anemia. They can range from mild to severe and can include the following:

  • Headache
  • Frequent urination
  • Yellow skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Exhaustion
  • Mental Confusion
  • Pale skin, dry skin, or easily bruised skin
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Tingling or pins and needles sensation in the hands and feet
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Sore tongue
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling cold
  • Vomiting
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Change in sense of taste

In children a lack of attention, delayed development of motor skills and learning problems can occur.

If you think you may be experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis.

anemia_causes_symptoms_risks

 

How is Anemia Diagnosed?

 

To diagnose anemia, your doctor will likely take your medical history, do a physical exam, and order a blood test.

The blood test will measure your hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. A low hemoglobin level is an indicator of anemia.

The type and number of blood and other tests will depend on the type of anemia your provider believes you have.

Anemia can also be diagnosed by your doctor based on the following parameters:

These tests may be ordered by your doctor after a trial period of treatment with iron supplements.

Risk Factors of Anemia

 

There are many different types of anemia, each with its own set of causes. However, there are some general risk factors that can increase your chances of developing this condition.

These include:

  • A family history of anemia
  • Certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, kidney disease, or cancer
  • Certain medications, such as those used to treat cancer or HIV
  • A diet low in iron, folate, or vitamin B12
  • Pregnancy
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Chronic inflammation

If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of anemia.

Women
There are many different types of anemia, each with its own set of risk factors. But women are at particular risk for some types of anemia.

Here’s a look at some of the risk factors for anemia in women. One of the most common types of anemia is iron-deficiency anemia. This form of anemia is caused by a lack of iron in the body.

Women are at particular risk for iron-deficiency anemia because of blood loss during menstruation.

If you have heavy menstrual periods, you may be at risk for iron-deficiency anemia.

Children
There are some general risk factors that can increase a child’s chances of developing anemia.

One of the most common risk factors is a lack of iron in the diet. Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells, and a diet lacking in iron can lead to anemia.

Other risk factors include a lack of other nutrients such as folate and vitamin B12, chronic illnesses and blood loss.

anemia_healthy_diet

Anemia and Pregnancy

 

Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe. Pregnant women are especially at risk for anemia because of the increased demand for iron during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the body needs more iron to make more blood to supply oxygen to the growing fetus.

The body needs iron to make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. There are several risk factors for anemia during pregnancy.

One is simply not having enough iron in the diet. Another is bleeding, which can occur during pregnancy, childbirth, or after a miscarriage.

Bleeding can also occur from other causes, such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, or nosebleeds. Certain medical conditions can also lead to anemia.
 

How to Prevent Anemia


There are several ways to prevent anemia.

Eating a diet that includes iron-rich foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, beans, and leafy green vegetables, can help prevent anemia.

Taking a daily multivitamin that contains iron can also help.

If you have any chronic medical conditions or take medications that can cause anemia, your doctor may recommend additional treatments or supplements.

anemia_infographic

 

Contact the Experts

 

Anemia can be a serious condition, but there are things that you can do to manage it and keep yourself healthy.

Work with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan that is right for you, and make sure to follow all of their instructions.

Be sure to eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, and get regular checkups to make sure that your anemia is under control.

Dr Eduan prides himself on his ability to help his patients to the best of his ability by embracing good listening skills, effective communication, compassion and knowledge and skill honed during years of private gastroenterology practice.

If you would like to book an appointment with a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist or would simply like more information on a particular GI topic, don’t hesitate to use our online booking form or call Dr. Deetlefs at 021 551 867.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

Connect with Us

© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Colonoscopy Explained: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Colonoscopy Explained: What to Expect and How to Prepare

What Is a Colonoscopy?

 

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

The colon and rectum are part of the digestive system.

The colonoscopy procedure involves inserting a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) into the rectum.

The colonoscope has a camera at the end which allows the doctor to see the inside of the colon and rectum.

A colonoscopy can be used to diagnose and treat various conditions of the colon and rectum, such as colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastrointestinal bleeding.

A colonoscopy is generally a safe and well-tolerated procedure.

In this article we will discuss everything you need to know about this procedure and more.

 

Why Is a Colonoscopy Performed?

 

The purpose of a colonoscopy is to screen for and detect potential problems, such as colorectal cancer or polyps.

It is considered to be the best method for diagnosing and detecting certain conditions of the colon.

If any abnormal areas are detected, biopsy (tissue sampling) or colon polyp removal will be done.

importance_of_a_colonoscopy


The Importance of a Colonoscopy?

 

A routine screening can avoid many colorectal cancers.

Catching colon cancer in its early stages and seeing a doctor regularly will ensure that your condition is monitored and treated effectively.

 

What Happens During a Colonoscopy?

 

A flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope is used.

This tube is about the thickness of your little finger and has a tiny video camera at its tip.

Your doctor will ask you to lie on your left side on an exam table. Sedation or anesthesia is usually recommended. 

The colonoscope will be inserted into your rectum. The scope contains a light and a tube which allows your doctor to pump air into your colon.  This method allows a better view of the lining of your colon.

As it moves through your colon, the tiny video camera sends images to an external monitor which makes it possible for your doctor to view the inside of your colon.

This procedure normally takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

Colonoscopy_cancer_importance

 

The Different Types of Colonoscopies

 

There are two types of colonoscopies: diagnostic and therapeutic.

Diagnostic colonoscopy is performed to find the cause of bleeding or other symptoms, such as abdominal pain or a change in bowel habits.

Therapeutic colonoscopy is performed to treat conditions, such as remove polyps or take biopsies.

What Are the Risks of a Colonoscopy?

 

A colonoscopy is a common medical procedure used to screen for colorectal cancer.

While the procedure is generally safe, there are a few potential risks involved.

These risks include:

– Perforation: A colonoscopy involves inserting a long, thin tube into the rectum and colon. In rare cases, this tube can cause a small tear in the lining of the bowel, known as a perforation. This can lead to infection or internal bleeding.

– Bleeding: The colonoscopy procedure can sometimes cause bleeding from the bowel. This bleeding is usually minor and stops on its own. In rare cases, more serious bleeding may occur and require treatment.

– Infection: There is a slight chance of your body having a reaction to the sedative used during the exam.

How To Prepare for A Colonoscopy

 

If you have been scheduled for a colonoscopy, you may be wondering what to expect and how to prepare.

Before colonoscopy, your colon must be completely cleaned out so that the doctor can see any abnormal areas.

Without proper preparation the colonoscopy will not be successful and may have to be repeated.

To clean the colon, you will need to follow the prescribed diet and take a strong laxative to empty your bowels.

Your doctor’s office will provide specific instructions about how you should prepare for colonoscopy.

Be sure to read these instructions ahead of time so you will be prepared for the prep. If you have questions, contact the doctor in advance.

You will need to avoid solid food for at least one day before the test. You should also drink plenty of fluids on the day before the test.

You can drink clear liquids up to several hours before your procedure, including water, clear juice (apple, grape), Energade or similar alternative, clear soup (beef, chicken, or vegetable), coffee or tea (without milk) or jelly (avoid red jelly).

The day or night before the colonoscopy, you will take a laxative. It consists of a powder that is mixed with water.

The most common laxative treatment is called “Klean-Prep”.

You can add some lemon squash to hide the unpleasant taste. Refrigerating the solution can make it easier to drink.

Drinking this solution may be the most unpleasant part of the exam. You will begin to have watery diarrhoea within a short time after drinking the solution.

If you become nauseated or vomit while drinking the solution, call your doctor or nurse for instructions.  

colonoscopy_preparation

 What Can I Expect After a Colonoscopy?

 

After the colonoscopy, you will be observed in a recovery area until the effects of the sedative medication wear off.

The most common complaint after colonoscopy is a feeling of bloating and gas cramps. You may also feel groggy from the sedation medications. You should not return to work or drive that day.

Most people are able to eat normally after the test.

Ask your doctor when it is safe to restart aspirin and other blood- thinning medications.

 

How Often Should You Get Screened for Colon Cancer?

 

So, how often should you get screened for colon cancer? The answer is simple: every 10 years beginning at age 50.

But why is screening so important?

Screening tests like colonoscopies can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.

In fact, colon cancer death rates have declined by 30% over the last two decades thanks to screening and early detection.

Screening for colon cancer is important for everyone over the age of 50.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about how often you should be screened.

 

How to Choose a Colonoscopy Doctor?

 

If you’re considering a colonoscopy, you’ll want to choose a doctor you feel comfortable with.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your decision:

– Ask for recommendations from family and friends. If someone you trust has had a good experience with a particular doctor, that’s a good place to start.

– Check with your insurance company. They may have a list of approved providers.

– Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, take the time to read reviews and check out the doctor’s credentials.

Schedule a consultation. This is your chance to ask questions and get a feel for the doctor’s bedside manner.

– Trust your gut.

colonoscopy_explained_infographic

 

Contact Dr. Deetlefs

 

Although these remedies and guidelines might alleviate the pain, it is recommended to get a professional diagnosis from your doctor or gastroenterologist in order to discuss the way forward.

A colonoscopy is a quick and painless procedure that can save your life.

It’s important to know what to expect and how to prepare so you can be as comfortable as possible during the procedure.

Dr Eduan prides himself on his ability to help his patients to the best of his ability by embracing good listening skills, effective communication, compassion and knowledge and skill honed during years of private gastroenterology practice.

If you would like to book an appointment with a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist or would simply like more information on a particular GI topic, don’t hesitate to use our online booking form or call Dr. Deetlefs at 021 551 867.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

Connect with Us

© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Liver Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Liver Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Overview

Liver disease is a broad term that describes any sort of damage that affects the liver.

The liver is a vital organ that helps to filter toxins out of the blood, so when it is not functioning properly, it can have serious consequences.

Liver disease can be caused by a number of things, including alcohol abuse, viral infections, and certain medications.

Symptoms of liver disease can include fatigue, nausea, and yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).
If liver disease is caught early, it is often treatable with medication and lifestyle changes.

However, if the damage to the liver is severe, a transplant may be necessary.
In this article we discuss liver disease in depth, covering the causes, symptoms, and treatments thereof.

If you think you may have liver disease, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

liver_disease_causes_symptoms

What Is the Function of The Liver?

The liver is one of your body’s most important organs and the second largest organ in the body.
Consisting of multiple lobes, it’s located just under your ribcage on the right side of your body.

The liver sits just to the left of your gallbladder, and its size is comparable to a football.

The liver has many functions, including filtering the blood, storing glycogen, and producing bile. The liver is also responsible for detoxifying the body and removing toxins from the blood.

The liver is a vital organ in the human body, so when it isn’t functioning properly, it can cause a number of problems.

 

What is Liver Disease?

Liver disease is a general term for any type of damage that affects the liver.
It can be caused by a variety of things, including viruses, alcohol, and certain medications.

Liver disease can lead to a build-up of toxins in the body, which can cause a range of symptoms.

In severe cases, liver disease can be fatal. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, as it will depend on the underlying cause of the liver damage.

There are many different causes of liver disease, which we will discuss below.


Symptoms of Liver Disease

Liver disease is any disturbance of liver function that causes illness.

The liver is responsible for many vital functions within the body and when it is unable to perform these functions properly, it can result in a variety of symptoms that can be mild to severe.

There are many different causes of liver disease, ranging from viral infections to chronic alcohol abuse.

Symptoms of liver disease can include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), itching, and easy bruising.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Liver disease is often progressive and can be fatal if not treated properly.

 

liver_disease_jaundice

Jaundice
Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, and the whites of the eyes. It is caused by an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment, in the blood.

Jaundice most commonly occurs when there is an obstruction in the bile ducts, preventing bile from draining from the liver.

This can lead to a build-up of bilirubin in the blood and a yellowing of the skin.

Swelling in the abdomen
If you have chronic liver disease, you may be aware of the many symptoms that come with the territory.

One symptom that is not as commonly discussed is abdominal swelling, or ascites.
This can be a very frustrating symptom, but there are treatments available to help.

There are a few different things that can cause ascites. One is portal hypertension. This is when the pressure in the portal vein, which goes from the intestines to the liver, is too high.

This can be caused by various things, such as liver scarring from hepatitis C.

Another cause of ascites is when the liver can’t make enough protein.

Fatigue
If you’re feeling tired all the time, it could be a sign that your liver is not functioning properly.

Liver disease can cause fatigue because the liver is not able to remove toxins from the body as efficiently as it should.

The build-up of toxins can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, and other symptoms.

There are a number of different liver diseases that can cause fatigue. These include hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fatty liver disease.

If you have any of these conditions, it’s important to get treatment so that your liver can function properly, and you can feel your best.

Weight
As we all know, being overweight has many consequences including an increased risk for developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

However, many people are unaware that being overweight also puts them at risk for developing liver disease.


Causes of Liver Disease

Liver disease can be caused by a number of things, including:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption: Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol can damage the liver.
  • Hepatitis: This is an inflammation of the liver that can be caused by a viral infection, such as the hepatitis C virus, or by autoimmune disease.
  • Fatty liver: This occurs when there is an accumulation of fat in the liver. It can be caused by obesity, diabetes, or excessive alcohol.
  • Alcohol Abuse: While there are many different types of liver disease, one of the most common is alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse can cause a wide variety of problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis, and even cancer.
  • Smoking: Few people know that smoking is one of the leading causes of liver disease. In fact, smoking is directly responsible for about 30% of all cases of liver disease. And, even if you don’t smoke, if you’re regularly exposed to secondhand smoke, you’re also at risk.
  • Obesity: Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, including liver disease. In fact, obesity is the leading cause of liver disease in the United States. 
  • Viruses: The most common types of liver disease are caused by viruses. Viruses are the leading cause of liver disease worldwide. In the United States, the most common viral causes of liver disease are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Hepatitis A is a virus that is transmitted through contaminated food or water.

liver_disease_stages_of_cirrhosis

 

Diagnosis of Liver Disease

In order to diagnose liver disease, your doctor will likely take a complete medical history and perform a physical examination.

They may also order one or more of the following tests:

Liver function tests
These tests measure the levels of enzymes in your blood that are released by the liver.
Enzymes are proteins that help chemical reactions in the body.

Imaging Tests
These tests create pictures of the inside of your body. They may be used to look for a mass, tumor, or blockage in the liver.

Biopsy
This is a test in which a small sample of liver tissue is removed and examined for damage or disease.


Treatment of Liver Disease

If you have liver disease, it’s important to get early diagnosis and treatment.

Many types of liver disease can be treated successfully if they’re caught early.

There are many different types of liver disease, and the treatment depends on the specific diagnosis. In general, however, most liver diseases can be treated with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.

Medications used to treat liver disease include antiviral drugs, antibiotics, antifungal drugs, and immunosuppressants.

These drugs can help slow the progression of liver damage, and they may also be used to manage the symptoms of liver disease.
 

liver_disease_infographic

Getting Help

In conclusion, it’s important to stay positive and prevent liver disease from developing.
Regardless of your diet, it’s good to be aware of what you’re eating and drinking.

Anything that encourages you to make better nutritional choices is worth considering.

Contact Dr. Deetlefs today to book your appointment online or call us on 021-5518678. 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

Connect with Us

© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Ulcerative Colitis: Your Complete Guide

Ulcerative Colitis: Your Complete Guide

What is Ulcerative Colitis

 

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic condition of the large intestine which over time irritate and damage the digestive tract and can lead to rectal bleeding or bloody stool.

This can usually be accompanied with diarrhea and cramps. There is not only pain associated with Ulcerative Colitis but also irritation of inflamed area, low-grade fever, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is defined as inflammation of the large intestine.

It can occur in any part of the colon but tends to affect the rectum and sigmoid colon to a greater extent than it does the rest of the colon, which is where IBD symptoms are typically worse.

The only reason UC symptoms are usually localised to one area of the gastrointestinal tract is because unlike Crohn’s disease patients, whose immune system can attack anywhere on their digestive tract, UC sufferers will generally mount an immune response only in their large intestine.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have IBD in your small intestine – what it means is that your immune system attacks your small intestine at a slower rate or without a full-on inflammatory response.

This article will cover a large area in explaining what Ulcerative Colitis typically is, the symptoms thereof and how to avoid triggers and flare-ups.

 

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

 

The majority with ulcerative colitis has mild to moderate symptoms.

The direction of ulcerative colitis may additionally vary, with some humans having long periods of remission.

Symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal Pain
  • Abdominal pain or abdominal cramping
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Defecate urgency
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody stool

ulcerative_colitis_symptoms

 

Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

 

The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, but it is believed to be the result of a combination of environmental, immunologic, and genetic factors.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis may include abdominal pain, cramping, urgency, diarrhea, and blood in the stool.

Treatment for ulcerative colitis may include medications, diet, lifestyle changes, and surgery.

 

Diagnosis

 

Gastroenterologists may additionally use a selection of tests on the way to apprehend what’s occurring with a patient who’s suspected of getting ulcerative colitis, but it is normally a colonoscopy with biopsies that is used to make the prognosis.

Treatments for Ulcerative Colitis

 

Ulcerative colitis is, unfortunately, incurable.

When you have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, it’s crucial to see your doctor to discover the first-class manner to treat it.

With the proper care, you are able to control your circumstance and lead a complete and productive life.

Some of the most common treatments for ulcerative colitis include:

  • Anti-diarrheal medication
  • Pain relievers
  • Iron supplements
  • Antispasmodics
  • Surgery

 ulcerative_colitis_guide

 

            Ulcerative Colitis Diet Guide            

 

Eating a diet high in fiber can help to alleviate some of the problems associated with Ulcerative Colitis but there are other things that can be done to lessen the pain and discomfort too.

What are the best foods to eat when you have Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease?

The key word here is animal protein. Animal proteins in the form of fish, seafood and poultry are your best allies.

The reason for this is because they are easy on your system and rapidly absorbed by the digestive tract without causing inflammation in your bowels the way that red meat can (even if its grass fed it can still cause issues down the road).

Focus on low GI carbs such as sweet potatoes, yams, or regular potatoes.

However, avoid white bread or sugary snacks like sweets.

You should also avoid fruit juices while on this diet too since they quickly spike your blood sugar levels which will only aggravate a flare up of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease and increase inflammation in your body.

 

Natural Ways to Reduce UC

 

By utilising lifestyle choices, it is possible to help prevent the onset of ulcerative colitis and reduce any symptoms that are already present.

These changes in one’s lifestyle need to be adopted for the long-term in order to achieve maximum results.

Remember, when looking at various supplements and herbal remedies, you need to have a solid understanding of what your condition is, in order to prevent any danger or confusion if you wish not only to reduce UC ulcerative colitis but also prevent flare-ups.

While there is no cure for ulcerative colitis, you will find that there are many different things you can do to reduce your chances of getting flare ups and make yourself feel far better for longer periods at a time.

For starters, encourage yourself to eat healthier by reducing the amount of fatty, processed foods in your diet and try out a few different recipes using some interesting spices and herbs.

You should also try eating more fruit and vegetables every day, particularly citrus varieties or those that contain lots of water like tomatoes or cucumbers.

You will be adding valuable fiber to your diet, which helps food pass through the intestine more easily.

ulcerative_colitis_healthy_diet

 

Managing Flare-ups

 

Flare-ups can be incredibly painful, so it’s important to manage them effectively to ensure that you can maintain a healthy quality of life.

Although flare-ups can happen for seemingly no reason, there are certain things you can do to reduce their frequency and severity.

  • Reduce stress by, for example meditating, doing yoga, or eating more healthily and drinking more water.
  • Cut your alcohol consumption if you’re not doing so already
  • Try supplementing with fish oils or evening primrose oil – they both may help reduce flare-ups
  • Try keeping a food journal for everyday use. This way you can keep track of what you eat and the reaction your body gives when eating certain foods.
  • Limit your fiber intake
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day
  • Talk to a dietician
  • Relaxation exercise

You should usually see your GP again when you have a flare up because they need to assess whether you need conjunctional treatment (antibiotics) or steroids.

 

Risk Factors

 

Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory colitis (IBD) and is a long-term condition characterized by severe inflammation that affects the large intestine and the lining of the rectum.

Here are 9 risk factors for ulcerative colitis:

  • Genetics 
  • Autoimmune reaction 
  • Smoking 
  • Anti-Inflammatory drugs 
  • Antibiotics

ulcerative_colitis_infographic

 

When To See a Doctor

Although these remedies and guidelines might alleviate the pain, it is recommended to get a professional diagnosis from your doctor or gastroenterologist in order to discuss the way forward.

Dr Eduan prides himself on his ability to help his patients to the best of his ability by embracing good listening skills, effective communication, compassion and knowledge and skill honed during years of private gastroenterology practice.

If you would like to book an appointment with a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist or would simply like more information on a particular GI topic, don’t hesitate to use our online booking form or call Dr. Deetlefs at 021 551 867.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

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© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Gastrointestinal Cancer Explained

Gastrointestinal Cancer Explained

What is Gastrointestinal Cancer

 

Gastrointestinal cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the lining of the stomach, esophagus, small intestine, colon, rectum, or bile ducts.

Cancerous tumors invade nearby tissues and organs and can spread to other body areas.

It is usually made up of cells that start in the lining of the digestive tract, or gastrointestinal tract, but it can start in the pancreas, stomach or esophagus.

Cancers in the gastrointestinal tract are found in the mucous lining that protects the organs, the immune system and the blood stream.

During the past century, cancer research has undergone significant changes. It has grown to become a mainstream of medical sciences and has even developed into a medical service.

It is no longer a disease to be taken lightly because it is a dangerous disease that can easily destroy our lives.

We touch a few important points in this article relating to GI cancer and how to look out for signs thereof and what the treatment options are.

Stages of GI Cancer


Cancer begins inside the GI tract as small numbers of abnormal cells that have the ability to grow and divide uncontrollably.

These cancerous cells are not able to communicate with our healthy body cells or produce necessary proteins and chemicals they need to survive.

Despite having problems, these growing cancerous cells go unnoticed by our immune system. Because our immune system cannot “see” them, it does not attack and kill the abnormal cells.

As the number of these cancerous cells increases over time (progressive growth), so does the chance for other symptoms to appear.

Some symptoms depend on where in your body the tumor is located, how large it is, and how fast it grows.

These stage state expressions are used when describing certain stages of disease severity at diagnosis based on testing already conducted or clinical signs already present on physical examination.

The stages of GI cancer are important because they are the basis of doctor’s recommendations and treatment planning.

To ensure you have the best outcome, it’s important to understand what stage you might be at to know what sort of treatment available and which options are more likely to work.

The most common tests that can determine your stage of cancer include a colonoscopy, an endoscopy or blood tests.

While there isn’t always a set way for getting through each phase, there are some rules that may apply in the standard staging procedure.

Most cancers in the esophagus tend to affect men over 50 and nearly 80% of them can be found detected in stage 1.

When it comes to larynx cancer, 50% present only in Stage 3 so early detection is essential.

This method also applies for gastric cancer with 80% presented as advanced when they’re actually caught on time as Stage I or early Stage II between 55 and 60 years old on average.

 

gastro_cancer_signs

 

Signs and Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Cancer

 

In the early stages of gastric cancer, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Indigestion or stomach discomfort
  • Bloated after eating
  • Nausea
  • A loss of appetite
  • Heartburn

One of the most difficult aspects of gastrointestinal cancer is the lack of immediate symptoms.

Many patients find out they have cancer when they go to their doctor for vague abdominal pain or notice swelling in the upper part of their stomach (indicating a tumor).

Early diagnosis is the key to beating this terrible disease, so if you’ve noticed any unusual symptoms that aren’t going away and don’t seem to be going away on their own, then you definitely should see your doctor about them.

The more severe symptoms include weight loss, vomiting and nausea.

If you have to use laxatives more than once a week, you are also at risk for developing certain types of GI cancer.

One key symptom that’s easier to overlook is a change in bowel habits – from eating healthy food to losing weight without trying dieting or developing difficulty eating solid foods because diarrhea has set in.

Should you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, contact your doctor to book an appointment.

Diagnosis of GI Cancer

 

 

Some of the most common diagnostic tests for gastrointestinal cancers include colonoscopy, endoscopy, biopsy, and imaging. 

Endoscopy
Endoscopic tests are used to look inside the body using an instrument called an endoscope. 

An endoscope is a flexible tube with a light and tiny camera attached to it. Endoscopic tests might include these nonsurgical procedures:

Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is an exam of the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract, which is called the colon or large intestine (bowel).

Colonoscopy is a safe procedure that provides information other tests may not be able to give.

Patients who require colonoscopy often have questions and concerns about the procedure.

Colonoscopy is performed by inserting a device called a colonoscope into the anus and advanced through the entire colon

The procedure generally takes between 10 minutes and one hour.

 

Upper GI Endoscopy
Examines the lining of the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, including the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum.

gastrointestinal_cancer_diagnosis

 

Risk Factors of GI Cancer

 

There are several factors that have been implicated in the development of Gi cancer.

These include age, family history, race and ethnicity, and gender.

Getting an early diagnosis is important in catching cancer before it spreads, and treatment can commence earlier than if it’s caught after spread.

Those with the following risk factors are more likely to develop Gi cancer:

  • Stomach Polyps
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • A diet high in salty and smoked foods
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Family history of stomach cancer 

Prevention

 

In order to reduce the risk of stomach cancer, you can:

Stop Smoking:
Smoking increases your risk of stomach cancer.  Not only stomach cancer but many other types of cancer.

Reduce the amount of salty or smoked foods:
Protect your stomach and limit the intake of salt and smoked foods.

Maintain a Healthy Weight:
If you’re overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about strategies to help you lose weight. Aim for a slow and steady weight loss of 1 or 2 kilograms per week.


Choose a Diet Full of Fruits and Vegetables:
Try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet each day.
Choose a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.

 

Why Cancer Screening Is Important

 

The general concept behind screening is to find abnormal tissues or diseases early, before the symptoms appear or before they cause other health problems.

Cancer screening for GI tract cancers, for example, looks for the tumor itself and in the first stages of growth when it is more easily treatable than at a later stage when it has progressed to an advanced state.

Early detection means treatment often starts immediately; patients have less pronounced signs or symptoms; and GI cancers can be cured in more cases than not.
 

gastrointestinal_cancer_infographic

 

Get in Touch with GI Expert Dr. Deetlefs

 

 Dr Deetlefs has admitting rights and performs endoscopies at both Mediclinic Milnerton and Life Vincent Pallotti Hospitals.

We are gastroenterologist experts using patient-focused GI treatment and procedures in Cape Town.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and wish you make an appointment with Dr. Deetlefs, get in contact with his practice and book your appointment.

If you haven’t been scheduled for a colonoscopy and want to get one, make an appointment now.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

GIDoc Cape Town

Patient-focused GI treatments and procedures in Cape Town.

Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM.

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© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.