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Facebook Chat Features Gastro Doc

Posted: January 16, 2019

When it comes to maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract, NorthBay Healthcare gastroenterologist Nazia Hasan, M.D., has two pieces of advice: Quit smoking and eat more fiber.

Dr. Hasan shared her tip during the latest #OurDocTalk — a sweeping half-hour chat broadcast via live streaming video Jan. 10 on the NorthBay Facebook page.

“If you are smoking, quit,” she said. “Smoking affects so many health systems from the heart and lungs to the digestive system. “ And fiber is vital for a healthy functioning gastrointestinal system. “The daily requirement is 25 to 35 grams per day and most Americans tend to get about half of that. So consider fiber supplementation.”

Dr. Hasan began her chat by explaining gastroenterology and her subspecialty of interventional endoscopy, detailing how it can be used in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases.

She focused on gallstones and reflux disease, common disorders seen by providers in gastroenterology.

Using a printed diagram, she explained what the gallbladder is and its role to store and release bile produced by the liver. The gallbladder is important, she said, but it can be removed as the bile ducts can perform some of the same functions.

Problems can occur when stones are formed in the gallbladder, she said. The stones can cause blockages.

“So the question is what causes the stones to form? A lot of it can be diet-related. So folks who have high concentrations of cholesterol or calcium can be pre-disposed to stone formation,” Dr. Hasan said. Being overweight can be risk factor and women, more than men, suffer from gallstones. Age can also play a role as those over age 40 are more at risk.

Gallstones can have no symptoms but when there are symptoms they commonly include sudden onset of gallbladder pain, particularly after a fatty meal.

Reflux disease was also in focus during the discussion as Dr. Hasan explained that some reflux is normal but that repeated incidences can indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, a digestive disorder that affects the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach.

GERD is disagnosed “when we see inflammation at the bottom of the esophagus,” she explained.

Certain foods can increase acid reflux and Dr. Hasan warned against overdoing caffeine, alcohol and tomato-based foods.

Treatment can vary, depending on the severity of the problem and can include over-the-counter medications, prescription medications or surgical procedures.

The full chat can be viewed on the NorthBay Facebook page (Facebook.com/NorthBayHealthcare) and is posted on the NorthBay YouTube channel.