Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases are no joke, and they’re actually quite common among Americans. Between 60 and 70 million people deal with them every year!

Learn more about GI diseases and steps you can take toward preventing them from our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team below.

What Is a GI Disease?

GI disorders are problems with any of the organs along the gastrointestinal tract, which starts at the throat and ends at the anus. GI disorder can be both acute and chronic. Acute, short-term illnesses—frequently referred to as stomach bugs—can be diagnosed as a GI illness, although they don’t last as long as chronic GI diseases.

GI disease symptoms are often quite recognizable, and we’ve listed them below.

Common GI Disease Symptoms

  • Abdominal discomfort (bloating, pain or cramps)
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Acid reflux (heartburn)
  • Diarrhea, constipation (or sometimes both)
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing

How Serious Are GI Diseases?

It really depends on the type of disease you are dealing with and the types of symptoms you are experiencing. If you experience the symptoms that we’ve listed above, it’s best to visit a doctor to find out what your next steps of treatment will look like.

Even though GI diseases are common among Americans, they still remain highly preventable. Below, we’ve listed a few effective ways you can help to prevent GI diseases from happening to you.

Ways to Prevent GI Diseases

  • Maintain a healthy diet. Add fiber, lower salt intake, drink lots of water and eat a variety of whole foods rather than processed foods.
  • Stay active. Getting at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity can put you on the right path to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Be wary of your medications. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause digestive problems, so talk with your doctor about possible side effects and ask for a substitute if a medicine is causing GI issues.

Feeling less than your best? We can help! Don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team today!