ISLAMABAD: An unhealthy lifestyle and unhygienic food consumption has become a cause of digestive system diseases among thousands of people of the federal capital.
The gastroenterology departments of hospitals are swarming with patients suffering from indigestion and related ailments, health experts said.
According to data released by Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), its Gastroenterology Department treated more than 90,000 patients suffering from indigestion in a year, of them 60 percent were female and 40 percent were male.
In April, at least 7,000 people checked in at the gastro ward of Pims, clutching their stomachs, moaning and groaning.
The patients came from twin cities and other surrounding districts even from far off areas including Jhelum, Kharian, Fateh Jang, Kohat, Bannu, Swat, Gilgit, as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Balochistan.
The department also received and treated about 3,000 patients suffering from anxiety and depression.
According to hospital data close to 2,500 patients had registered with active hepatitis C while 4,000 patients had non active hepatitis and did not need hepatitis B or C treatment, the data said.
About 1,000 patients had Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) positive but not all of them received treatment and nearly 500 had silent gallstones.
Dr Waseem Khawaja of Gastroenterology Department said the main reason behind digestive disorders is consumption of substandard, spicy and junk food, not doing enough exercise. Consuming outside and junk food is the main the cause, he said, adding that many patients had cardiac problems when investigated by gastro department.
The hospital treats various illnesses including other intestinal diseases, many types of cancers and many chronic liver diseases.
Dr Khawaja said most of the patients suffering from gastric ailments were children and from young age group, belonging to the federal capital and surrounding areas.
He said that all affected patients have been provided treatment free of cost. Dr Khawaja said that bacterial gastroenteritis happens when bacteria causes an infection in gut.
This causes inflammation in stomach and intestines and the patient may also experience symptoms like vomiting, severe abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea. He said people should use boiled water and ensure cleaning their hands before taking any food. People should drink boiled or clean water and follow a healthy life style which incorporates healthy eating and exercise to get rid of indigestion and people avoid dining outside.
Dr Wasim Khawaja said that several patients with stomach pain and other related complications visit Pims daily these days due to use of leftover or unhealthy food like samosas and pakoras.
He advised citizens to avoid taking such food in Iftari. He said that citizens should check the quality of food before taking it from shops as use of unhygienic and recycled leftover food items may create several stomach problems.
He said that eating dishes made with leftovers could be major source of food poising or creating worse health condition if reheated or stored improperly like eggs, potatoes, rice, chicken, and mushrooms.
He said leftovers cannot be kept for several days in the refrigerator as this practice may produce bacteria in the food with greater chances of having food poising.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2018.