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 :

» A Simple Blood Test Could Hold The Clue...

In a recent press release, the reported that a simple blood test could hold the clue and may even save lives. is a common condition, especially in teenagers, affecting approximately 10 million people in the UK. It can vary from being mild to very...

» Cancer Drug May Also Work for Scleroderma

A drug used to treat cancer may also be effective in diseases that cause scarring of the internal organs or skin, such as pulmonary fibrosis or Scleroderma.The drug, with the generic name bortezomib, stopped the production of fibrotic proteins in...

» Collagen Vascular Disease

Connective tissue is a major tissue in our body and is responsible for forming the structure of the body parts. It can be considered as a tissue that forms the framework or matrix of the body. It is made up of two proteins, collagen and elastin....

» U.S. Legislation Passed to Promote Research and Awareness of Scleroderma

(U.S.) has applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for the passage of the Scleroderma Research and Awareness Act (H.R. 2408), introduced last March by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) and Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI). This bipartisan legislation gives hope to...

» Raynaud's Syndrome

John W. Hallett, Jr., MDJanuary 2008Raynaud's syndrome is vasospasm of parts of the hand in response to cold or emotional stress, causing reversible discomfort and color changes (pallor, cyanosis, erythema, or a combination) in one or more digits....

» Why is Esophageal Manometry Done?

Esophageal manometry is used to evaluate the function of the muscles of your esophagus - the tube that connects your throat to your stomach. Circular bands of muscle (sphincters) at the top and bottom of your esophagus open and close to let food...

Add comment

Do feel free to leave your comments, as they would add value and knowledge to the community. However, please refrain from making any disparaging, uninformed, or unrelated comments. Thanks :)

Security code
Refresh

Login



Wise Words

"Happiness can only be found if you free yourself from all other distractions"
Saul Bellow

"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what's right"
Isaac Asimov

"Before someone's tomorrow has been taken away, cherish those you love, appreciate them today"
Michelle C. Ustaszeski