HEALTH HUB Hyderabad

Importing ailment by adopting Western lifestyle

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By imbibing eating habits of the West, youngsters are succumbing to disorders like IBD that were hitherto unheard of in India. That’s the reason why doctors suggest sticking to Indian food.

While adopting Western lifestyle, the young rather unwittingly have been succumbing to disorders that were hitherto predominant in advanced countries and unheard of in India. They are literally ‘importing’ ailments while imbibing eating habits of the West. A case in point is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which has started to get noticed by health care providers among those who are returning to India from the West or have fully adopted the eating habits there.

IBD occurs due to inflammation (redness and swelling) of the large or small intestine leading to constipation, diarrhoea, blood in stools or pain in the stomach, loss of appetite, weight loss and even anaemia. These symptoms are very common and can be confused with the commonly occurring amoebiasis that causes dysentery, a vital reason for late diagnosis of IBD among patients.

“Our analysis of patient history suggests that Indians are ‘genetically’ prone to IBD. Such patients, when they adopt Western lifestyle and eating habits, are bound to have it. In fact, IBD is a Western ailment and that’s why it does not find mention in our medical syllabus. So awareness is the key,” said Dr. Rupa Banerjee, Head of IBD Clinic, Asian Institute of Gastroenterology (AIG).

That’s the reason why doctors suggest sticking to Indian food. “We return from the West and immediately take to drinking mineral water, crave for highly sanitised food and environment like in the West. It’s always safe to keep ourselves to Indian food and avoid processed food,” said Chairman, AIG, Dr. D. Nageshwar Reddy.

So how does one differentiate between IBD and common diarrhoea? “If the symptoms persist for more than a month or continue even after taking antibiotics, then patients should think of alternatives. They should get colonoscopy done immediately. There are treatment options for patients and IBD can be treated,” Dr. Banerjee said.

Interestingly, doctors pointed out that IBD is less in villages when compared to cities and common in a young demography (16 and 45 years). According to various forecasts, by 2021, the burden of disease of IBD is expected to reach 13 million cases in India. At present, the prevalence of IBD is close to 5 per cent among general population.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 5:48:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/importing-ailment-by-adopting-western-lifestyle/article6029983.ece

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