Three million people in the UAE suffer from acid reflux

gasteroSharjah, 19 September 2015

The University Hospital Sharjah (UHS) admits many young patients suffering from sore throat symptoms, often caused by an improper diet and a poor lifestyle.

Although the most common causes for a sore throat are viral infections resulting in coughs or colds, and drinking very cold water in hot temperatures, one other cause is generally overlooked: acid reflux.

Dr Ahmad Munzer Alwaa, Senior Consultant and head of the ENT department at the UHS, says many children visiting UHS suffer from acid reflux as a result of eating spicy and fatty foods from fast food eateries. “Diets of children have changed noticeably,” the doctor said.

Dr Alwaa specially warns against eating spicy and crunchy cheese-flavored snacks that are made by a soft drink manufacturer.

Acid reflux occurs when food flows back into the oesophagus, causing heartburn and coughing.

It is not only children that are suffering from this ailment. The figures show that 30 percent of the UAE population (nearly 3 million people) suffer from acid reflux. Other dietary causes include an excess of tea, coffee and alcohol, smoking, and eating just before bed.

Dr Alwaa also warns against drinking very cold water from water dispensers, which could cause irritation and trigger a sore throat. He does, however, advise that ample fluids should be consumed during the hot summer days.

UHS has opened a number of new specialty clinics earlier this year in response to the growing number of patients in Sharjah and from the Northern Emirates.

Dr. Alwaa came to UHS after having acquired extensive experience and training during 18 years of association with a number of leading hospitals in the UK.

The doctor’s advice includes not lying down flat on your back after eating. Acid reflux is the result of various factors, including stress. If you feel throat pain or suspect an ulcer, see a doctor as soon as possible.

The ENT department at the UHS also deals with a number of allergy cases. The doctor advises using vacuums with special filters, to eradicate dust mites in beds and pillows, and to use humidifiers moderately.

While seasonal changes bring in a high number of pollen spores in the air that lead to hay fever and sore throat, junk food also cause food allergies.

The UHS consultant notes that the number of throat and neck cancer patients are low in the UAE compared to Europe. He said that smoking is one of the leading causes of throat and oral cancer.

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