Gastrointestinal health facts for men
Valley View Hospital
Last year, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders reported that almost a third of people in the U.S. have acid reflux disease or GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease), making this chronic — and very common — disease the most expensive gastrointestinal disorder in the U.S., with direct and indirect costs totaling $10 billion per year.
Dr. Jason Collins, a doctor of gastroenterology and hepatology at Glenwood Medical Associates who has full staff privileges at Valley View Hospital, treats disorders that have to do with internal organs such as the stomach, liver, intestines and pancreas. The most common disorders he sees are GERD, gall stones, pancreatic, colitis and colon polyps. He also identifies various forms of cancers in these areas.
“We find these are more common in men, such as higher incidences of colon polyps because men don’t go to doctor as much as they should,” says Collins. “Many gastrointestinal disorders in men are simply underdiagnosed.”
According to Collins, most people need treatment for GERD, more commonly known as acid reflux.
“Once a patient has been diagnosed with GERD, it’s really important to follow up with their doctor and receive the proper treatment,” says Collins. “There can be many complications if left untreated, one being cancer.”
In addition to GERD, men should also be screened for Hepatitis C (HepC). While Collins says that overall, the health of his patients in western Colorado is much better than national averages, he does see a lot of alcoholic liver disease in the area. According to Collins, high intake and prolonged use of alcohol can cause inflammation in the liver, leading to cirrhosis.
Says Collins, “There is a lot of drinking here in the mountains, and many people don’t understand the significant amount of damage they are doing to their internal organs.” And, as Baby Boomers age, he is also seeing more cases of HepC. “Baby Boomers engaged in a lot of fun drug use back in ‘60s and ‘70s, and now it’s catching up with everybody. Many Baby Boomers have HepC and don’t realize it. It’s really important to screen and treat it.”
Collins notes that several new drugs treat HepC effectively. In January, new medications for HepC changed treatment dramatically, shortening treatment and eliminating injections. “It’s just one pill a day, and patients are cured in three months.”
On June 17 at Valley View Hospital’s Alpine Room, Collins will deliver a lecture on gastrointestinal issues and men, signs to look for and the precautionary measures to consider. The lecture, “Gastrointestinal Health: Facts for Men,” is part of an ongoing series that discusses a variety of different health issues that are particularly common in the area.
“Gastrointestinal Health: Facts for Men,” will be presented by Dr. Jason Collins at 6 p.m. June 17 at Valley View Hospital’s Alpine Room. For more information on this or other topics in this lecture series, call 384-6620 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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