Reported cases of achalasia are up in the United Arabic Emirates (UAE), a country along the Persian Gulf. This increase has caused concern among health officials, according to an online article in Gulf News Health.
Achalasia is a rare swallowing disorder when damaged nerve cells in the esophagus stop working. The malfunction interrupts the smooth transfer of swallowed food from the esophagus into the stomach. Also, the lower esophageal sphincter is unable to stop stomach contents from flowing backward into the esophagus. To learn more about this rare disorder, click here.
Although achalasia can’t be cured, symptoms can be controlled with treatments.
One treatment is a non-invasive procedure called Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM), whch has recently become available in the UAE. During the procedure, an endoscope or tube is inserted down the throat to look at the esophagus, and then a cut is made to relax the muscles of the esophagus. An increase in these procedures is causing concern among UAE doctors.
Less than one percent of people across the world are affected by achalasia. However, there has been a measurable increase in patients in the UAE having the procedure done in the last few years.
As a result, doctors want to know if achalasia is, in fact, increasing in this part of the world or if figures are merely skewed, based on the new availability of the treatment.
With POEM now available in the UAE, residents no longer have to travel internationally to find a health facility that offers the treatment.
The hope is to improve reporting of the condition, as well as the pooling of resources throughout the UAE to get a better understanding of how many people may be impacted by this rare condition.
To read the entire article, click here.