Heartburn – Side Effects
While the agony of heartburn is the most usually related problem with heartburn, there are some long-term effects that can occur if you leave a heartburn problem untreated. In this article, we’ll be talking about the different problems that can arise should you decide to neglect your heartburn disease.
Heartburn Side Effects – Erosive Esophagitis
Erosive esophagitis is a risk faced by those with a heartburn condition. Esophagitis occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus and irritates it. Therefore, it is common in those who have heartburn.
Those who suffer from esophagitis experience several symptoms, including trouble with swallowing, a burning sensation in the throat, and oral lesions. To detect esophagitis, doctors perform an endoscopy or barium swallow.
Barium is a chemical which dyes the passage that it goes through so that it an x-ray can basically see inside of you. If left untreated, esophagitis can cause intense discomfort as well as malnutrition and dehydration due to the trouble associated with painful swallowing.
If esophagitis is diagnosed, it can be treated via medication which can help to reduce the amount of acid developed in the stomach. This, in turn, causes less acid to back up into the esophagus and consequently causes less irritation to the esophagus.
Barrett’s esophagus is one problem that you do not want to develop. It is a situation that occurs when the lining of the esophagus is altered to a state that is similar to the linings of the small intestine.
While people that don’t have heartburn may be diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus, one with heartburn faces a three to five times as likely possibility of developing this condition.
While Barrett’s esophagus lacks any significant symptoms, it is often a precursor to a deadly form of cancer that is known as esophageal adenocarcinoma. Those with Barrett’s esophagus face a risk of developing this terminal cancer that ranges from thirty to a whopping one hundred and fifty times as likely as a normal person.
Barrett’s esophagus often affects more men than women, and the average age of diagnosis for the esophageal condition is sixty years old. Barrett’s esophagus is a tough problem to diagnose, as well.
It cannot be exactly diagnosed due to the fact that there are no symptoms and physical examinations. Blood tests can not exactly determine the presence of this condition. There is only one test that has proven to have any merit when diagnosing Barrett’s esophagus.
It is a process known as upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and biopsy. A small tube with a light and a camera is lowered into the esophagus, and if the tissues in the esophagus appear to be abnormal. A small device is placed in the esophagus to take a sample of the tissue. Under a microscope, doctors can usually note the presence of Barrett’s esophagus.
As you can see, heartburn, if left untreated, can lead to some serious conditions. While discomfort from esophagitis may be a mere nuisance. The risks one faces when Barrett’s esophagus takes hold are great. Changing your lifestyle and taking proper medications can decrease your risk of developing these harmful conditions.