A disorder of the esophagus causing serious medical problems-Achalasia

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Achalasia is a serious medical disorder of the esophagus where the nerves and muscles malfunction leading to difficulty in swallowing, chest pain, regurgitation, coughing and breathing challenges as soon food enters the lungs.

The esophagus generally called the gullet or swallowing tube is the tube that connects the throat (pharynx) with the stomach, it is found between the trachea and the spine. It goes down the neck and joins the upper (cardiac) end of the stomach.

 

 

Causes

There is no specific cause of the disorder, however, the condition is often linked to autoimmune condition where the body immune system combats healthy cells unknowingly or could be congenital in which case it may be inherited from the parents.

In relation to the above, cancer of the esophagus may also lead to a disorder of the esophagus.

 

 

Symptoms
Swallowing difficulty
Chest pain
Regurgitation of indigested food
Occasional loss of weight
Coughing
Intense pain or discomfort after eating
Risk of aspiration

 
Diagnosis
The doctor may request for any of the following diagnostic tests:

Esophageal manometry: it involves placement of tube in the esophagus during the course of swallowing.

An X-ray of the esophagus may also be requested as it is helpful in diagnosing this condition. This may also be done through endoscopy.

Barium swallow is another way to diagnose the condition.

 

 

Treatment

Using drugs to soften and widen the narrowed part of the esophagus to enable easy passage of food.
Balloon (pneumatic) dilation is another treatment option

Surgical procedure known as myotomy to cut the muscle with a view to avert any obstruction is another treatment option.

Taking injection that relaxes the muscles on the lower side of the esophagus is usually recommended for those who are unfit for surgical intervention.

Avoid eating late in the night especially if you are about to sleep
Consume enough water before, during and after eating.
Raising the head slightly while asleep will aid gravity to digest food properly.
Acupuncture is also useful in treating the condition.

 

 



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