What Is Barrett's Esophagus? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 12:07
taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/stewiedewie/114310672/ via creative commonsBarrett's esophagus is a precancerous condition in which the lining of the esophagus is replaced by abnormal cells, with the esophagus being that tube which connects the throat to the stomach.

The esophagus is connected to the stomach by a muscular ring called the esophageal sphincter. This muscle performs two major functions. It opens to allow food to pass into the stomach, and it also closes to keep the contents of the stomach from splashing back up into the esophagus.

If this sphincter weakens or relaxes, the contents of the stomach splash back up into the esophagus. This splashing is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

The lining of the esophagus is not made for this kind of abuse. After being exposed to stomach acid over a long period of time, the lining of the esophagus changes. This change in the lining of the lower esophagus is called Barrett's esophagus.

GERD is the major cause of Barrett's esophagus. Esophagitis, or chronic inflammation of the esophagus, can also lead to Barrett's esophagus. One-third of all people with Scleroderma, a skin disorder, develop Barrett's esophagus. For some unknown reason, Barrett's esophagus occurs three times more often in males than in females.

GERD can be caused by a weak esophageal sphincter that is present at birth or develops later in life. A hiatal hernia can also cause GERD. Hiatal hernia is a condition in which the stomach pushes up into the diaphragm muscle. When this happens, the esophageal sphincter does not work properly. As a result, the fluid can easily leak back into the esophagus.

There are several factors which make GERD worse including drinking alcohol or caffeine, drinking carbonated beverages or fruit juice, and eating fatty or spicy foods. Despite the availability of some common medical and surgical treatments for GERD, unfortunately, there is nothing that can prevent the cells of Barrett's esophagus from changing into cancer. However, it is important to treat the GERD to prevent further damage.

Your doctor may order regular esophagoscopy exams to check for cancer. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to your doctor as well.

Read the full article on Barrett's Esophagus, by Amanda Wattson here, and for more information on Barrett's via the NDDIC via this link.
 
More articles :

» Unite Against Scleroderma 2012

For our second year running, the Scleroderma Care Foundation will be hosting its “Unite Against Scleroderma” Awareness Walk around the , Port of Spain. Scheduled to start from 3:00pm, the Walk would be held on Sunday May 6th 2012 and cover one...

» Research Highlights: Stem Cell Research

James White was in his 60's when he was diagnosed with , which progressed to. The traditional treatment for patients like White is standard , which brings a median survival time of about a year. But Duke oncologist David A. Rizzieri, MD, offered...

» The Importance Of Exercise

Exercise is important for everyone. There are many forms of exercise including aerobics, cycling, walking the dog, and even stair climbing and home chores. These are all good but if you have it may be necessary for you to also have a therapeutic...

» Cancer Risk Among Patients With Systemic Sclerosis: A Nationwide Population Study In Taiwan

C-F Kuo, S-F Luo, K-H Yu, I-J Chou, W-Y Tseng, H-C Chang, Y-F Fang, M-J Chiou, L-C SeePosted online on December 11, 2011Objectives: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) has been associated with high cancer risk. We compared the cancer risk among SSc patients...

» Joint Involvement And Aggressive Systemic Sclerosis

Clinical joint involvement is strikingly common in patients with systemic sclerosis () and is associated with a more active and severe disease phenotype, according to an analysis of the world’s largest systemic sclerosis (SSc) registry. proved to...

» Survival in Pulmonary Hypertension Associated With the Scleroderma Spectrum of Diseases

Stephen C. Mathai, Laura K. Hummers, Hunter C. Champion, Fredrick M. Wigley, Ari Zaiman, Paul M. Hassoun, and Reda E. GirgisObjective. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is an important cause of mortality in systemic sclerosis (SSc), where it can be...