We all get gastric upsets following sudden changes in eating habits, or when going on a holiday and that it settles down spontaneously with no medication. Some express it as just gastric.
Gastritis is a general term for a group of conditions that starts with inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach.
The inner lining of the stomach is quite strong, much stronger than your skin. The night acid juice is pure hydrochloric acid, the parietal cells in your stomach lining produces 20 to 100mL has a pH of about 1.5 to 3.5.
If such acid juice touches your skin will burn the skin, it is strong enough to dissolve metal, but the same acid juice secreted in the night in your stomach lining cause no problems. What a marvelous situation. Mucus secreted in mucus gland in the stomach seem to prevent any inflammation or gastric erosion.
This acid barrier in the stomach prevents growth of certain bacteria and facilitate denaturation of dietary proteins as they enter the stomach.
The acid seems to help digestion of the food we eat.
The inner lining of the stomach is lined by a mucous membrane, referred to as the gastric mucosa. The cells in this lining are tall epithelial cells that secrete mucus that protects from irritants, and the acid juice the parietal glands produces.
This tough inner lining has small pores called gastric pits containing exocrine cells that secrete digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid into the hollow region of the stomach.
The gastric acid causes no problems so long as the acid remains within the stomach to perform its functions.
If acid refluxes back into the lower gullet due to a weak valve system at the esophageal stomach junction, call the cardia, cause inflammation of the lower gullet. This gives rise to a burning sensation behind the heart region of the chest cavity and is referred to as heart burn.
It is also called gastroesophageal reflux diseases or GERD.
In some situations, the acid can eruct as far as the throat cause burping, cough, and sore throat.
When the gastritis is acute it may settle down with rest and no medication.
But if you get recurrent frequent bouts of stomach upsets you need to check up what is causing the problem.
Those people who use long term certain medications like aspirin and ibuprofen will get inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach.
Excessive frequent alcohol consumption can cause an alcoholic gastritis.
Certain chronic illness such as diabetes or kidney failure can cause gastritis and stomach upsets.
A weekend immune system can cause gastritis. Gastric mucosa hosts the body’s largest population of immune cells. Lymphocytes called T cells are in abundance in the lining. These cells increase during the Helicobacter pylori infection of the distal stomach causing ulcers.
There is the type A gastritis caused by immune system destroying stomach cells due to some autoimmune disease.
In such a situation it can increase your risk of certain vitamin deficiencies, anemia, and cancer.
Another cause for chronic gastritis is Helicobacter pylori bacteria which causes stomach ulcers.
Chronic gastritis can be caused by chemical irritants like nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol, or bile.
One problem with chronic gastritis is, in addition to thinning the inner lining due to inflammation, it can cause stomach lining erosion to produce gastric ulcers and bleeding.
Persistent stress increases acid gastric juice and that may cause gastritis.
Chronic recurrent gastritis from any cause needs treatment, as long-term gastritis can wear away and thin the lining to reduce its functions.
You could get chronic gastritis due to a blood disease called pernicious anemia.
This is an autoimmune disease due to the functional failure of the gastric parietal cells that secrets acid juice.
In this condition when one checks for vitamin B12 level in your blood is low. This condition is produced due to the body’s inability to absorb vitamin B12 required to produce blood cells.
Pernicious anemia occurs in individuals above the age of 60. The name pernicious was given as there was no cure for this disease previously.
However, this condition is treated today by giving vitamin B12 as supplements.
In this condition the gastric mucosa is thinned out and referred to as atrophic gastritis.
When the gastric lining is thinned out, it does not produce adequate amounts of intrinsic factor protein to absorb vitamin B12.
Another cause of acute gastritis is due the pylori bacteria. The bacteria cause the inflammation of the gastric inner lining and settles down in a day or two.
When it becomes chronic, the gastric mucosa swells and cause erosion of the lining.
And much more………
Read over 300 articles on Health issues written by Dr. Harold Gunatillake
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