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40pc GERD cases 'misdiagnosed in UAE'.

About 40 per cent of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) cases in children were misdiagnosed as Asthma, allergy and other diseases, said experts at a medical symposium in Dubai.

The symposium shed light on the GERD that is now becoming increasingly common among children in the paediatric age between 7 and 12 years across the emirate. The symptoms of this disease include coughing, chest pain, flatulence and bloating.

'If GERD is not correctly treated, it could lead to serious complications, such as inflammation in the esophagus, narrowing of the esophagus, ulcers and bleeding,' pointed out Dr Suleiman Nayyal, a Dubai-based Consultant Gastroenterologist. "GERD, if mistreated, may cause Asthma,' he added.

'Moreover, Asthma could be combated by treating paediatric groups for GERD. We are happy to start using Esomeprazole (chemical name) developed by AstraZeneca for the treatment of GERD in children ages 1-11 years. We are also prescribing this medicine to old people who cannot take pills," Dr Nayyal said.

He revealed that many paediatric groups in the UAE were misdiagnosed as Asthma, allergy and other diseases, when it is actually GERD.

Dr Dore SP, consultant, Gastroenterologist, Al Zahra Medical Center said the recognition of GERD disease in the paediatric group was on the rise. 'Earlier, GERD symptoms used to go undetected. There has been a dramatic increase in children who are carrying the disease, compared to ten years ago,' he stated.

Prof Dr G Veereman, a pediatric gastroenterologist, currently affiliated with the Free University Brussels and the Children's Hospital UZ Brussels, Belgium, was present at a medical symposium held by AstraZeneca Gulf to announce the extended indication for children with Esomeprazole (chemical name) with the MoH in the UAE for the treatment of pediatric patients.

"GERD affects children school performance, disrupts sleeping habits and restricts social activities. The significant impact on physical and mental health brings emotional consequences. Anger, frustration, anxiety and even depression have been reported as a result of GERD in children," said Mahmoud Sabry, medical manager, AstraZeneca Gulf.

According to him, the first step to treat children with GERD is to change their lifestyle, for example, sleeping position, diet and clothing. 'This should help to reduce the troublesome symptoms,' Sabry opined.

'Modifying diet such as restricting a child's intake of carbonated beverages including fizzy drinks, caffeine, chocolate and spicy foods may reduce symptoms.'

'High acid food such as citrus fruit (oranges) and tomatoes can aggravate GERD. Avoiding tight clothing that puts pressure on the stomach will also help to manage reflux disease in children,' he added.

Sabry said it can be very difficult to identify GERD symptoms in younger children since they are not always able to clearly express to their caregivers how they feel.

'Older children are likely to be able to better describe their symptoms. Common clinical manifestations of persistent, recurring GERD symptoms in younger children includes vomiting, constant or sudden crying, poor weight gain, recurrent 'wet Burp, hiccup' sounds, dysphagia, abdominal pain, heart pain and respiratory disorder,' Sabry explained.

As children get older, the symptom pattern changes to become more similar to that of adults, including heartburn, acid belches, regurgitation, chronic sore throat, stomach pain and gastrointestinal discomfort. Extra esophageal symptoms such as chronic cough and Asthma can also be associated by reflux disease, he added.- TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Oct 31, 2010
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