Esophagus, also known as the food pipe, is a tube that connects the mouth and the stomach. It makes an easy passage for the food and helps in the digestive process. Esophagus is a structurally complex tube and susceptible to various conditions such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) which leads to Barrett’s disease.

Barrett’s Disease – What Is It Exactly?

The esophagus undergoes tremendous changes as a result of acid reflux, and because of the food content that damages the inner lining of the esophagus. As a result, the healthy cells that turn into what are categorically known as specialized columnar cells.

The inner damage causes ulcers and increased heartburn. In a very rare case scenario, uncured Barrett’s condition can lift up the risk factors of esophageal cancer.

GERD – The Culprit Behind

There are so many factors that lead to this condition and the exact reason is still unknown. However people who have GERD are highly likely to be diagnosed with Barrett’s.

GERD, or popularly known as gastric issue or acid reflux, is a condition where the person’s food pipe gets damaged due to the acid burn for a prolonged time. The reasons that lead to gastric reflux are plenty and associated with lifestyle, food habits, obesity, inactivity and so on. Swelling of the esophagus can also cause GERD.

People who are experiencing heavy chest or a heartburn for so long are at the high risk of GERD and Barrett’s esophagus. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your nearest gastro clinic or talk to a gastro doctor.

The General Opinion

Generally, it is believed that Barrett’s condition is prevalent in people who will have a large quantity of meals at a single time. Exercising right after a meal or sleeping are believed to be the causes behind Barrett’s disease. However, significant research needs to be done in these aspects to determine the facts.

Symptoms of Barrett’s Disease

Barrett’s condition shares its symptoms with GERD. Here are a few symptoms that ring the alarm in the initial days of this condition.

  • The person might feel chest pain, heartburn, and heaviness in the upper portion of the body
  • Nause, vomiting, and throat pain are also observed
  • Difficulty in swallowing and difficulty in breathing are also seen in few people
  • Back flow of the food which is known as regurgitation is a common symptom

Apart from these, the person might feel an unpleasant and sour taste in mouth and the secretion of saliva increases for no reason.

Who Is At Risk?

As Barrett’s condition is not reversible, it will be sensible to check if you fall under the risk category. Take a look at the risk factors of Barrett’s condition.

  • Age: Barrett’s condition is mostly observed in older people than the young adults.
  • Gender: If you are a man, you are at more risk. However, Barrett’s condition is high in women too.
  • Obesity: Barrett’s disease is one of the digestive issues faced by people who are overweight.
  • Lifestyle: People who eat spicy foods, excessive red meat smoking, and alcoholism are surely at risk.

Complications of Barrett’s Condition

The condition starts showing mild symptoms and it can lead to several medical complications if left untreated. Here are a few conditions Barrett’s esophagus leads to.

  • Stricture – During the initial days of the condition, the acid reflux causes damage at the joint of esophagus and stomach causing heaviness in upper chest and heartburn.
  • Esophagus Sores – The acid damages the inner lining which leads to ulcers or sores on the inner side of the food pipe.
  • Dysplasia – This is an advanced complication which leads to precancerous changes in the esophageal cells.

Treatment for Barrett’s Disease

Endoscopy and biopsy (if needed) are performed to confirm the condition and the gastro specialist keeps the treatment inline with the findings during the diagnostic process.

Ways to Prevent Barrett’s Disease

Reversing the condition is completely in your hands. Healthy diet, recommended changes in lifestyle coupled with best gastro care is all what it takes for the reversal.

Quit smoking, maintain a healthy body weight, avoid spicy foods, and seek the necessary treatment for the GERD condition before it turns into Barrett’s disease.

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