Archive for August, 2007

Acidity : Treatment and Diagnosis

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Foods that are spicy, salty and acidic, Smoking and alcohol consumption are the causative factors and must be stopped.Reducing stress and modification of lifestyle may prove very helpful in treatment of acidity and ulcers, particularly for those people who are prone to a nervousness and emotional disposition and are involved in high-stress jobs.
Antacids neutralizes the excess acid secreted and can therefore provide immediate relief. A group of drugs called H2 Receptor Blockers reduces the production of acid by blocking histamine receptors (For example:Cimetidine and Ranitidine).Another group of drugs called the Proton Pump Inhibitors stops acid production by disabling a mechanism in acid-making cells. These are more powerful and include Omeprazole and Lansoprazole.
Long term therapy may be necessary to produce complete healing. Early detection of and treatment of ulcers can prevent complications like perforations. Surgical methods like Vagotomy are suggested to control acid secretion.

The clinical symptoms and history are very important aspects of diagnosis. Any present and past drug use, especially chronic use of NSAIDs, a history of family members with ulcers, alcohol consumption and smoking, stress assessment and analysis are very useful in determining the cause of the condition. A trial with acid-blocking medication is given with a four-week course of acid-suppressing drugs. In such cases, the symptoms may subside. If symptoms persist, then further testing is needed. Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is done to detect the presence of ulcers. If Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome is suspected, blood levels of gastrin should be measured. Barium Meal studies are also useful as these may show inflammation, active ulcer craters, or deformities and scarring due to ulcers. If an ulcer is present, a precautionary biopsy of the ulcer is usually taken to rule out malignancy as it is not uncommon for a malignancy to manifest as an ulcer.

Symptoms of Acidity

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

The main symptoms of acidity are Heartburn and Dyspepsia.

Heartburn is more common in night when the person is lying down and can be recovered temporarily by sitting up in a straight posture.It can be felt by a deeply placed, burning pain in the chest behind the sternum (breast-bone). It generally takes place after meals and is precipitated by increase in intra-abdominal pressure like straining or lifting weights. Regurgitation of the gastric contents can also happen.The usual symptoms of ulcers are characterized by pain that can be either localized or diffuse. Sometimes it radiates to the back or to the chest.

Dyspepsia causes a burning or an aching pain in the upper abdomen, sometimes described as a stabbing sensation which penetrates through the gut.Soetimes there may be no pain, but only a feeling of indigestion, fullness, bloating, flatulence or nausea. When this happens due to duodenal ulcer,the pain is relieved by taking a meal.But in the case of a gastric ulcer eating may worsen the pain.

Peptic ulcer disease also known as non-ulcer dyspepsia, can sometimes occur without symptoms. Symptoms may also arise when there is no ulcer present.

Various Causes of Acidity

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Here are listed various causes of Acidity : 

The reflux of the acid from the stomach to the lower part of the oesophagus can be caused due to the weakness of the valve between the stomach and oesophagus (food pipe). This gastro-oesophageal reflux can even led to heart-burn. The reflux can also happen due to a heavy meal or increase in intra-abdominal pressure such as while straining or lifting weights.

Excess acid secretion can also led to acidity and ulcers. Sometimes, when the normal protective lining of the stomach and duodenum (the part of the intestine that joins the stomach), gets ineffective and led to ulcer.Gastric ulcer is caused if it is in the stomach and duodenal ulcer if it is in the duodenum.

Excessively large amounts of acid secretion occur in certain situations, such as in a condition known as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, in which large amounts of secretion are stimulated by tumours located in the pancreas or duodenum.

Acidity can be caused by any kind of break down in the defense mechanisms that protect the stomach and intestine from damage by acid.

Bicarbonates are secreted into the mucous layer, which helps in neutralising the effect of acid. Hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins, help to keep the blood vessels in the stomach dilated, ensuring adequate blood flow.

Prostaglandins are also helps in stimulate bicarbonate and mucous production, which helps in protecting the stomach.

Consumption of highly spicy foodstuffs, alcohol,irregular intake of food, and non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) also predispose to gastric acidity.

Lack of adequate blood flow to the stomach may contribute to ulcers.

Highly emotional and nervous individuals are more prone to acidity. The disease is also more common in the developed and industrialized nations.