Digest This

Digest This! Premier Issue

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Page 33 of 39

GUT HEALTH GATE KEEPERS OF THE GUT H undreds of millions of people suffer from some form of digestive disorder, and according to experts in the field, there's indicators which suggest these figures could go even higher. While specialists in gastroenterology, the branch of medicine focused on the digestive system, are making strides in the treatment of these disorders on a grand scale, the role of your hometown primary care physician is at the frontline to a rapidly expanding concern for early detection of digestive disorders and possible treatments. Specialists believe that seeing your primary care physician is a necessary first step in making people healthy, and reducing the need to immediately see a specialist. Dr. Edward Chock, a general surgeon and primary care physician from Oakdale, California, refers to the primary care doctors as the "gate keepers" of digestive disorders. "I think there's a rise in digestive disorders in general, and primary care physicians are the ones that should initially identify these issues," says Dr. Chock. "Certain symptoms may be a manifestation of a digestive system disorder. Someone saying they are unusually tired, or that they lack stamina may have a digestive disorder. It's our job to help sort out the root causes of the symptoms. We may not always be correct, but we should try to find out the source of the problem. If it turns out that the patient has a digestive disorder, we may then refer the patient to digestive system specialist like a gastroenterologist." BY LARRY SAAVEDRA ILLUSTRATION BY JD SANCHEZ UNCOVERING NEW ROLES FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN 34 DiGEST THIS

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