Indigestion Can Also Be Dangerous

Indigestion is a general term used to describe discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen or chest. In medical terms, indigestion is known as dyspepsia and it is characterized by symptoms such as:

  • A feeling of fullness during the meal
  • A feeling of fullness after the meal
  • A burning sensation in the upper abdomen

Indigestion is very common and has become a normal part of many people’s lives. We all must have had experience indigestion in our lives. Most often, indigestion is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle such as over-eating, eating too quickly, eating spicy food, excessive intake of caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and eating and drinking at the same time. Indigestion can be caused due to inflammation of the stomach lining. But, sometimes symptoms of dyspepsia can be due to diseases of the stomach.

 Indigestion Can Also Be Dangerous

Indigestion can result from psychological factors such as stress and anger. These factors can disturb the mechanism that controls contraction of the muscles and intestinal muscles. Any food which is not digested properly ferments in the intestines and produces the gases hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Although usually, indigestion can be a result of unhealthy eating habit, sometimes it can act as a warning sign and should not be ignored. Some of the digestive conditions that can cause dyspepsia include:

1. Gastritis

Gastritis is a medical condition which occurs when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed. Normally, in order to digest the food, the stomach strong acid, and enzymes. A stomach has a built in defenses that protect the lining of the stomach against these acids and enzymes. But, when built in defenses fails to function properly, acid damage the stomach lining and causes an inflammation. 

Gastritis is characterized by symptoms like a burning sensation in the upper abdomen, pain that occurs after eating, feeling of bloating, nausea, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. Gastritis can be acute or chronic. Acute gastritis is defined as a sudden and severe inflammation of the stomach lining. On the other hand, chronic inflammation is defined as an inflammation of the stomach that lasts for a long time. There is another type of gastritis and that is known as erosive gastritis. Erosive gastritis is a type that does not cause significant inflammation of the stomach but can wear away the stomach lining.

Gallstone is a condition in which the hard particles develop in the gallbladder and these har particles are known as a gallstone. The gallbladder is an organ that is located in the upper right abdomen. A gallstone can be of different types and can cause sudden pain in the upper right abdomen. This pain which is known as gallbladder attack or biliary colic occurs when the gallstones block the ducts of the biliary tract. There are two types of gallstones:

  • Cholesterol stones are mainly of hardened cholesterol and are usually yellow green in color.
  • Pigment stones are made up of bilirubin and are dark in color.

Almost 80% of the gallstones are cholesterol stones and the rest are pigment stones. According to the studies, certain people are at a risk of developing gallstones, such as women are at higher risk of developing gallstones as compared to men. Similarly, people who are over the age of 40 or people who have a family history of gallstones are at higher risk of developing gallstones as compared to the young people and those who do not have a family history of this disease.

3. Celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder which occurs when an individual consumes a gluten. Gluten is a protein which is found in foods such as wheat, barley, and rye. The immune system of a person having celiac disease responds abnormally and results in an inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine. The severity of the disease and the symptoms can vary from person to person and some of the symptoms that are common in many people having celiac disease include deficiency of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, constipation, diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness, and bone problems.

In some cases, celiac disease can also lead to infertility in both sexes. Osteoporosis and anemia are the common diseases that are associated with celiac disease. Osteoporosis is a bone disorder that is characterized by weak bones that are more prone to fracture even after a small fall.  

4. Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is a disorder in which the pancreas becomes inflamed and irritated. Acute pancreatitis is characterized by the severe pain that occurs in the upper abdomen that goes through the back. Other symptoms that can occur in people having pancreatitis include nausea, vomiting, abdominal swelling and tenderness, fever, rapid pulse rate, and fast breathing. Acute pancreatitis is one of the most common diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and it causes very high emotional, physical and financial human burden.

Gallstone is considered to be one of the most common causes of pancreatitis. These gallstones are formed in the gallbladder which is an organ located near the pancreas. The pancreas and gallbladder share a common passage into the small intestine known as common bile duct. When the gallstone blocks the duct, fluid can’t leave the pancreas and this backup of fluid can be the cause of pancreatitis.

5. Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the tissues lining the stomach. Most often, stomach cancer begins from the cells of the inner layer of the stomach which is normally responsible for making and releasing mucus and other fluids. Stomach cancers are of different types:

  • Gastric lymphomas - This type of cancer originates from cells of the immune system that is found in the walls of the stomach.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors - It is a rare type of tumor which originates from the cells of the walls of the stomach, known as interstitial cells of Cajal.
  • Neuroendocrine tumors - This type of stomach cancer originates from the nervous or endocrine cells of the stomach.

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