KOTA BHARU: Gastrointestinal diseases have been on the rise in Malaysia and so far, the youngest to have been detected with the disease is a six-month-old baby

Malaysian Society of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (MSGH) president Prof Dr Lee Yeing Yeh said patients that are usually diagnosed with the disease are those in their 50s, but in recent years the disease also involve the younger age groups.

“The six-month-old baby who was found to be suffering from gastrointestinal disease experienced loss of appetite, malnutrition and stunted growth,“ he told reporters at the opening of HUSM’s gastrointestinal motility laboratory, which was officiated by its director, Prof Datuk Dr Nik Hisamuddin Nik Rahman here today.

Elaborating, Dr Lee said a total of 2,105 people have been detected to suffer gastrointestinal diseases since 2013 at HUSM alone, involving referral patients of various ages from within and outside Kelantan.

He said one of the main causes of the disease is motility disorders or functioning of the nerves and muscles in the intestine, and for 50 per cent of the patients it was due to unhealthy lifestyle and dietary factors.

Early detection of diseases affecting the digestive tract is very important to ensure that patients receive accurate and prompt treatment and to avoid more severe complications.

As such, he said HUSM has the complete diagnostic tools for early detection of the disease.

Among the diagnostic evaluations that are carried out at the laboratory are esophageal and anarectal manometry tests, pH impedance test and hydrogen breath test.

He said the equipment available at the laboratory are the first to be used in the country and 11 gastrointestinal specialists including three experts from abroad are assigned here.

“Colonic manometry and mucosal impedance are two new procedures that are available only at HUSM for now,“ he said. - Bernama