Importance of having a colonoscopy grows yearly - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Importance of having a colonoscopy grows yearly

(Source: Raycom) (Source: Raycom)
(WAFF) -

Ulcerative Colitis and Mesenteric Ischemic Disease could be a deadly combination.  

Patient Teena Starr said she was lucky to have a good physician looking out for her.  Especially considering the latter disease which can kill the bowel.

"It's a blockage of the arteries coming out of your heart that feeds the blood flow to your bowels and that was completely blocked," explained Starr.

She said surgeons tried stinting, but when that failed a nine and a half hour bypass operation took place.   

"It kept the blood flow back to my bowels. You know with blood and oxygen. And the bowels came back to you know they came back," said Starr. "And there was the second gastro problem. I had ulcers across all my large intestines and my colon. So I have to be hospitalized to do the medicine intravenously. So my gastric doctor, Dr. Keith keeps a close eye on that."

The bottom line with this type of infection?  

Hers started in the bowel and worked its way up into the stomach.

Starr said her problem is stress related.  Her doctor does an upper GI and a colonoscopy often.   

Starr's specialist, Dr. Jeanette Keith, said a colonoscopy can be life saving.   

"Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States despite improvements in medical care," said Keith. "One of the things we can do with a colonoscopy is to reduce your risks greater than 60 percent, by removing polyps before they have time to become a cancer."

She said one of her missions is to get the word out about screening colonoscopies.   

"It's important to have done by age 45 for African Americans and age 50 for all other adults. But it's not one and done. If you have a polyp you need to come back and get retested," said Starr.

She said 60 percent of people who have polyps will have another at some point in the future.

Starr said her health is much better with Dr. Keith running tests and keeping her in check.

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