Medical experts identify the gut as the most vulnerable organ for Vietnamese

By Le Nga   October 2, 2019 | 03:00 am PT
Medical experts identify the gut as the most vulnerable organ for Vietnamese
Doctors perform a surgery to remove damaged part from a patient's esophagus at a hospital in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Le Nga.
Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are among the most common in Vietnam, medical experts said at a conference in Hanoi.

Speaking at the Bridging Basic and Clinical Science for Gut Health conference on Sunday, they said 70 percent of Vietnamese are at risk of gastrointestinal diseases due to Helicobacter pylori (HP) infection.

Nearly 10 percent of the population already suffers from conditions like constipation, digestive disorders, gastroesophageal reflux, belching, and abdominal distension and serious problems such as cancer, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, and enteritis.

Gastric cancer is the third most common in the country after liver cancer and lung cancer.

The Global Cancer Organization (GLOBOCAN) estimates that Vietnam had more than 14,000 new cases of colorectal cancer and over 7,000 deaths due to it last year.

Dao Van Long, chairman of the Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, said: "The incidence is tending to increase due to environmental pollution, unsafe foods, poor eating habits and lifestyle."

Professor Hidemi Goto of Japan’s Nagoya University said inflammatory bowel disease, which used to be common in Europe in the past, is now spreading rapidly in Asia.

It is caused by eating habits as people consume lots of meat-based foods, he said.

"People eat more, especially foods containing high cholesterol, and consume more alcohol, beer, stimulants, and others."

Vietnam uses intestinal bacteria (microbiome) to intervene in a number of conditions such as peptic ulcer.

The use of microbiome in treating digestive biliary diseases like colorectal cancer, chronic enteritis, fatty liver, pancreatic cancer, and, especially, conditions such as inflammation chronic intestine is a promising new direction that has attracted the attention of scientists all over the world.

Long said there are very few studies in Vietnam on the role of gut microbiota, and the lack of studies to identify major microorganisms means there is no gene bank for microbiota.

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