Acidity : Treatment and Diagnosis

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.

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