14 Feb Health Made Simple: Understanding your Digestive Health
Approximately 40% of all people will have at least one digestive issue at any one time. This includes a wide range of problems, such as acid reflux, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease. The benefits of a healthy digestive system extend far beyond the stomach or bowel tract – it has also been shown to be advantageous for our immune system and mental health.
Therefore, it is important to understand your digestive system to ensure that it is in the best possible condition, given the multiple health effects it has on various other areas of the body.
At Randox Health, our Digestive Health panel includes several tests which help to screen for conditions such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and Coeliac Disease.
H. pylori is a bacteria commonly found in the membrane of the stomach and is thought to affect approximately half of the world’s population. Most of the time, the bacteria will remain in the stomach without causing any issues. Nonetheless, infection with H. pylori can sometimes result in symptoms such as heartburn, bloating and nausea and has been associated with an increased risk of peptic ulcers and gastric (stomach) cancer.
Early detection and treatment of an active H. pylori infection can significantly reduce the risk of such further complications. The problem is that many of us do not realise we are living with it.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition, and results in the immune system attacking gluten (a protein found in barley, wheat and rye) in the diet. Over time, this can cause damage to the intestine. However coeliac disease can be difficult to diagnose, given the similarity of symptoms with other digestive conditions, such as IBS.
On average, it takes approximately 13 years to diagnose Coeliac disease from the onset of symptoms.
Again, early detection and intervention with a gluten-free diet can significantly improve symptoms and prevent further damage to the bowel.
Randox Health also offer tests which can help to assess your risk of different conditions such as gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. We also screen for bleeding or inflammation of the digestive tract.
Our digestive health is majorly influenced by the way we live our lives and our diet; therefore, a simple change in what we eat may be all that is required. Unfortunately, if left undetected or untreated, digestive problems can have long-lasting effects on our overall health. Why not get to know your digestive system today? To find out more, click here.