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Tummy Troubles: Understanding Digestive System Diseases

digestive system diseases

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Providing the body with nourishment is one of the most integral parts of sustaining life. It probably comes in second only to breathing. It’s something that we need to do, and most of us quite happily nourish ourselves every day. The other end of that equation is digesting the food we eat, and then eliminating the waste. When your digestive system is in good working condition then you usually don’t pay much attention to it. However, when it’s not and digestive system diseases are a new reality then it’s very problematic.

Now the good news is that digestive system diseases are not common. Most people will go through their entire life with not even the slightest concern about the function of their tummy. However, it’s good to be aware of the warning signs for digestive system diseases. We will look at the most commonly diagnosed digestive system diseases and disorders.

We’ll then also touch on what a person can do in as far as good lifestyle and diet choices to maintain good digestive health. That’s important, and especially so considering that part of dealing with some digestive system diseases involves eliminating certain ‘trigger’ foods from your diet. Unfortunately, this may mean blacklisting a particular food or dish that's been a lifelong favorite.

Common Digestive System Diseases, and Their Symptoms

One of the ones most commonly seen in North American people is GERD, which is an acronym for gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease. This is when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. A more common term many people use for this is ‘acid reflux’. The primary symptom of GERD is definitely one that’s hard to ignore and will certainly be letting you know that something’s wrong.

The primary symptom of GERD is a burning pain in the middle of your chest that doesn’t. You will know this isn’t just simple indigestion. Also, to have a clinical diagnosis (something only a doctor is qualified to do) of GERD you need to experience this ongoingly and at least twice a week.

Nexium (esomeprazole) is a prescription medication that is very effective for treatment of GERD.

Anything less than that and it may be simple indigestion rather than an indication of a gastrointestinal ailment.

Gluten Allergies & Celiac Disease

Next up in our list of digestive system diseases and disorders is celiac disease. This is when your body is allergic to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley and one that most people get a LOT of by eating bread, among other foodstuffs contain gluten (beer is another). The problem with celiac disease is you can be quite allergic to gluten and not really be aware of it.

The symptoms of this one of the many digestive system diseases that are common in North America are different for children and adults:

  • Children – abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, weight loss
  • Adults – anemia, fatigue, bone loss, ‘brain fog’, depression, mood instability

Of course, the cure for celiac disease is to stop eating gluten permanently. Now if you’re a person who loves breads or even pizza that’s going to be REALLY tough to give up, but in truth you really have to.

Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, & IBS

Crohn’s disease is one of the digestive system diseases you inherit from one of your parents genetically, and it involves severe inflammation of parts of the body’s digestive tract. The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are the same for people of any age – abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fever.

Entocort (budesonide) is a prescription corticosteroid medication that has shown itself to be very effective for providing relief from Crohn’s.

From there we have ulcerative colitis, which is another inflammatory bowel disorder where the immune system misidentifies some foods as invaders and the cytokine response results in sores and / or ulcers developing along the lining of the colon. The pain of ulcerative colitis is a symptom you can’t ignore.

The last one we’ll talk about here is IBS which stands for irritable bowel syndrome. Of all the digestive system diseases we cover here, IBS is like celiac disease in that it is directly influenced by diet choices. The symptoms of IBD are gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea or the opposite in hard, dry stools, and bloating. Eating low-fat high-fiber meals and avoid trigger foods like dairy, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.

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