Most people suffer from some sort of digestive disorders during their lifetime. It might be the common and less serious digestive system disorders like constipation, diarrhea, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome or something more serious like acid reflux (GERD), ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease. Digestive disorders and diseases affected 60 to 70 million Americans in 1996 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2002, 234,000 deaths were attributed to digestive system disorders and diseases. While more than 27,000 of these were due to liver disease or cirrhosis, there were 121 deaths that were caused by constipation, which is typically not one of the serious or life threatening digestive disorders.
Over 1700 deaths were attributed to GERD, which is one of the digestive system disorders that can be effectively treated and controlled with medication, or herbal supplements, dietary and/or lifestyle changes. 825 deaths were due to ulcerative colitis and Chron’s, which are digestive disorders called inflammatory bowel diseases and 22 were attributed to irritable bowel syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome is another one of the digestive system disorders that can be treated and controlled by using dietary supplements and making dietary and lifestyle changes, including stress management.
In 1990, 20% of the U.S. population suffered from acid reflux symptoms at least twice a week. Next to simple occasional heartburn, this may be the most common of all the digestive disorders. A recent study showed that 25% of all Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month. In 2002, 710,000 people were hospitalized due to acid reflux and other related esophageal disorders. There are no figures available on the number of dollars that Americans spend per year treating the digestive system disorders acid reflux and heartburn. This is due largely to the fact that many people treat these digestive disorders with over the counter antacids or other non-prescription medications and some people do not seek treatment at all.
Figures are available for the number of prescriptions written for some of the digestive system disorders and diseases. 2.2 million Prescriptions were written for irritable bowel syndrome in 1985. And this is somewhat surprising, because currently the only prescription medication available for irritable bowel syndrome has only been proven effective for treating women. A million prescriptions were written in 1985 for constipation relief. Chronic constipation is sometimes a symptom of other digestive system disorders. For example, constipation or diarrhea may be present in irritable bowel syndrome.
If you believe that you suffer from one of the digestive system disorders or diseases, it is important to seek help. If you know that you suffer from one of the digestive disorders, it is important to get treatment. Most of the common digestive system disorders can be controlled and treated. If left untreated some of the fairly common digestive disorders can lead to more serious health problems.