Hunterdon Gastroenterology Summer 2019 Healthy Bites Digest
Why You Should Get a Colonoscopy
Most people fear having a colonoscopy. Maybe you have heard about the prep and this scares you; but did you know that one test can save your life? There’s a reason why doctors often recommend that patients between the ages of 50 and 75 get this test with or without symptoms. A colonoscopy is a screening test for colorectal cancer (CRC). This is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. Both are a part of the large intestine. The colon absorbs water and nutrients from food and stores the waste, which becomes poop. It then moves from your colon into your rectum before leaving the body.
Symptoms of colon cancer include a change in bowel habits (like consistent diarrhea or constipation), blood in your stool, a feeling that your bowel isn’t emptying, and persistent cramps or gas. Symptoms can also include weight loss, pencil thin stools, weakness, and fatigue. However, by the time you experience symptoms, the cancer is usually quite advanced.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death for both men and women. However, if it is caught early, colorectal cancer has a 90% survival rate.
With a colonoscopy, your doctor can see inside your entire colon and rectum. He or she will use a flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a pen called a colonoscope. It has a tiny video camera on the end. Your doctor will gently push the tube inside your colon and take pictures along the way. He or she will pump small amounts of air inside your colon to keep it open while the tube is in place. The doctor will be looking for polyps (small growths on the colon) that could be early signs of cancer. If he or she finds any, your doctor can remove them while doing the exam.
A colonoscopy saves lives. To date it is the only test which prevents cancer by removing suspicious polyps. Other tests simply find cancer, not the polyp precursor. Finding the polyps before they develop into cancer is the reason to have your colonoscopy as soon as your doctor suggests it.
Begley, Sharon, M.D. Stat: Is colonoscopy the gold standard for screening? March 2016.
Felson, Sabrina, M.D. WebMD: Why your doctor wants you to get a colonoscopy. 2019.
- The average person produces 2 pints of saliva every day. That is 32 ounces, or 2 cans of soda.
- The muscles in your esophagus act like a giant wave. That is what moves food or drinks down to your stomach. This wave action is called peristalsis.
- Enzymes in your digestive system are what separate food into the different nutrients that your body needs.
- The small intestine is about 22-23 feet long while the large intestine is only about 5 feet long.
Dr. Patel’s education began at St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies. He went on to complete his Internal Medicine Residency and Gastroenterology Fellowship at Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY. Dr. Patel is Board Certified in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine.
We asked Dr. Patel why he went into Gastroenterology and he replied “Gastroenterology combines aspects of working through complicated diagnostic problems and medical treatments as well as direct diagnosis and treatment endoscopically. It offers a combination of both cognitive and procedural aspects of medicine. What I find most appealing is caring for patients with chronic diseases — who often have challenging diagnostic and therapeutic issues — as well as the biochemistry, which relates to nutrition. Unfortunately, American lifestyle has incorporated unhealthy eating habits over the years, and through my patient interactions, I hope to reinforce proper nutrition and better eating habits for better health.
To learn more about our physicians by visiting, www.HunterdonGastro.com.
Healthy Cucumber, Watermelon, and Mint Salad
Farmers’ markets and gardens are full of fresh and delicious produce in summer. Here’s a healthy salad recipe to make at the height of summer when watermelon and cucumbers are at their juiciest and most flavorful. Feta adds the perfect creamy, salty, tangy edge, and mint makes this salad taste even brighter. This is one easy side salad you’ll want to serve at all your summer BBQs.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
Ingredients (Serves 6):
- ½ cup red-wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 cups cubed seedless watermelon
- 1 English cucumber, chopped
- 6 oz feta cheese, cut into ¾ inch cubes
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mintWhisk vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl; gradually whisk in oil until completely incorporated. Combine watermelon, cucumber, feta and onion in a large bowl. Gently stir in ½ cup of the vinaigrette. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours. Just before serving, gently stir in mint; drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. To make ahead: Prepare through Step 2 and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
Ref: Eating Well, April, 2019
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