Focus on Digestive Health

Focus on Digestive HealthFocus on Digestive Health

The number of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) cases in the country has seen a 15-fold rise over the past decades.

“At present, 50,000 people suffer from the disease, said Dr Reza Malekzadeh, deputy of research at the Health Ministry on Tuesday, on the sidelines of a press briefing on the occasion of the National Digestive Health Week (May 22- 29).

IBD can be debilitating and sometimes leads to life-threatening complications.

During the week, useful information will be publicized through posters and brochures, and conferences will be held to improve people’s awareness and understanding of digestive health and digestive ailments and disorders, IRNA reported.

“Early diagnosis and treatment can help people with the health condition lead an almost normal life. Half of those diagnosed are women and most of the people develop the disorder when they are young adults,” he said.

Iran is among the five countries producing medication for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. “While the medication was only recently discovered in the world, its production line opened last year (ended March 20) in Iran. The brand CinnoRa is produced by CinnaGen Company which is now eyeing the export market.”

The domestic production of the drug can save up to $30 million annually in foreign exchange. It can be used for treatment of a wide range of ailments including gastrointestinal and dermatologic autoimmune diseases.

“While the price of foreign medication for each dose of 40 mg is $500 (20 million rials) the one produced domestically costs $50,” Malekzadeh said. It is administered by subcutaneous injection.

 Risk Factors

Explaining risk factors for the disease, the official said refrigerated food can increase the likelihood of developing the disease, as some microbes can stay alive in food products for long period of time. Poor dietary habits, fast foods, obesity and smoking can impact development of the disease.

Iran’s Digestive Disease Research Institute (DDRI) affiliated to Tehran University of Medical Sciences, has collected data on the number of people suffering from IBD in 17 provinces.

The provinces with the highest number of patients include the northern provinces of Mazanadarn and Gilan, and Tehran and Shiraz.

The institute is the first research center on gastroenterology diseases established in Iran.

 Its goal is to function as a multidisciplinary center and to present clinical and translational research in Iran.

IBD involves chronic inflammation of all or part of the digestive tract.

It primarily includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both usually involve severe diarrhea, pain and fatigue as well as weight loss.

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