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What is Gastritis?

Latin names of diseases often call associations with something complicated and dangerous. It’s not very easy to guess that fearful “hyperemia” means simple reddening of skin for instance. Just as “gastritis” I’ve always considered necessarily as an infirmity of stomach which needs lasting and zealous treatment. In actual fact it could be a short-term irritation which goes away after extermination of the cause.

For those who are good in Latin there is no difficulty to obtain a definition actually from the word “gastritis” which by literal means an inflammation of the stomach. To be precise gastritis is an inflammation of the epithelial lining of it.

Unhealthy food, medications, poisons, swallowed foreign bodies, various medical conditions and infections - such long list of possible causes probably no disease has except for gastritis. Depending on type of cause and the stage of ailment gastritis has several varieties.

Acute gastritis (pangastritis) could be produced by enduring consumption of some medications (aspirin, NSAIDs, steroids, iron tablets, etc.), alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and junk food. Emotional or physical stresses, infections and some medical conditions can also lead to stomach inflammation.

Chronic form is characterized by reduced number of gastric glands in the stomach and in 90% of patients is caused by bacteria named Helicobacter Pylori which acquired usually in early childhood and survive within mucous layer of the stomach.

Distinguishing signs of atrophic gastritis are: 1) disappearance of gastric folds; 2) visualization of submucosal blood vessels and 3) partial loss of the mucosal lining. This form could be considered as prior stage of stomach cancer.

Multiple erosions on the lining – a picture which physician would see in the stomach of patient with erosive gastritis, factually stomach ulcer.

Proceeding of gastritis could be without any symptoms or accompanied by numerous and severe ones. Undisputed leader is abdominal pain. The rest of the symptoms such as belching, vomiting, nausea, fever, diarrhea, bloating or pallor vary for each case. Heavy forms could call rapid heart beat, feeling faint, short of breath or chest pain. Endoscopy allows looking into stomach in a literal sense. Biopsy (analysis of the sample of the lining) will say everything that endoscopy can’t see. These methods for diagnostics are the only foolproof though more than unpleasant. Others just give an assumption about the state of your stomach.

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Cause, type and stage of gastritis determine the means of treatment. Antibiotics are used for killing bacteria, Pepto-Bismol – for protection the lining from acid, proton pump inhibitors – to reduce stomach acid. Common diet excludes salty, spicy food, coffee, tea, cigarettes and alcohol. Some nutritional supplements (amino acids, vitamins C and A, zinc, copper) and herbs (goldenseal, chamomile, marshmallow, slippery elm and bladder wrack) may be helpful.

Percentage of patients infected with H. Pylori is fairly high. Timely detection and treatment of it may reduce the risk of gastritis and ulcers significantly. For supplying your stomach with additional protection choose fringe medicine and healthy lifestyle. Yulia


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