Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Don't Ignore Problems in the Powerhouse

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Don't Ignore Problems in the Powerhouse

Article excerpt

Suffering holiday tummy or food poisoning this summer forces us to think about an area of our body we ignore at our peril ( our guts.

Lack of knowledge and embarrassment about the body's `powerhouse' ( from the throat through the stomach to the bowel ( is one of our greatest health threats.

In fact, the majority of people wouldn't recognise potentially serious symptoms associated with fatal digestive diseases, a survey for National Gut Week, from July 18-24, has found.

Yet Government statistics show these account for one in eight UK deaths from illnesses such as colon cancer, liver disease, pancreatitis and diverticular disease.

"Diseases and conditions of the digestive tract are one of the nation's biggest causes of death," says Warren Alexander, director of national charity Core (Digestive Disorders Foundation). "Ignorance, taboos and embarrassment about discussing bodily functions mean many people are left isolated and suffering in silence from illnesses that could be treated."

Dr Nick Read, medical adviser of the IBS Network, says: "Don't be afraid to discuss your gut is our key message. Go to see your doctor if you have persistent gastrointestinal symptoms.

"Early detection will normally mean a cure. Bowel cancer, if detected early enough, is usually treatable. Most people with persistent bowel symptoms probably have Irritable Bowel Syndrome and this can be alleviated."

WHAT IS THE GUT?

N The gut is the powerhouse of the body where the nutrients, vitamins and minerals from our food are absorbed. Food travels on a 9m journey from the mouth to the bowel. It handles 65 tonnes of food in a lifetime and is home to a kilogram of bacteria.

WHAT AFFECTS THE GUT?

Poor digestive health probably affects all of us at some point.

Stress and emotional upsets, a poor or bad diet, travel, illness, the ageing process and certain drugs can disrupt the process. …

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