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An Overview of Diseases That Affect the Digestive System

diseases that affect the digestive system

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Everyone experiences an ‘upset stomach’ from time to time. However, they can usually take some solace in the fact that their gastrointestinal upset is going to go away eventually. For anyone suffering from diseases that affect the digestive system, however, getting relief is never just a matter of waiting it out. If you’re someone who doesn't experience pain or discomfort radiating from your digestive system then you should consider yourself fortunate.

That’s because quite often digestive system diseases are made worse depending on the foods you eat. Also, all of us are very prone to continuing to eat the foods we love. That’s only a part of what can be problematic when dealing with diseases that affect the digestive system. As is the case with many diseases the use of surgery or medication may be required.

Some are worse than others when it comes to these diseases that affect the digestive system. Considering the digestive system is one of the most integral ones in the human body there’s really no getting away from the immediate and severe nature of these conditions for people suffering from them.

Let’s have a look at the most common diseases that affect the digestive system, their common symptoms, and what’s the standard course of medication treatment for dealing with them.

Common Diseases of the Digestive System

You’ve probably heard of the expression related to the nature of gravity saying, ‘what goes up, must come down’. Well, in the same way when it comes to foods we eat, what goes in must come out. But the elimination of waste is only part of the digestive process. It’s also where the nutrients your body needs for sustenance and growth are extracted from the foods you eat before they’re processed into waste and eliminated.

So where we’re going with it is it’s not something you can do without. A ruptured spleen can be removed because humans have evolved to not need spleens anymore (though it does benefit the immune system if it’s allowed to remain), but your stomach, intestines, and colon are 100% essential if you’re to continue living. This is why there’s really no quick fix for diseases that affect the digestive system – removing the source of the problem isn’t an option at all.

We’ve already made very clear how important it is to have a working digestive system. Now let’s get to our look at common diseases of the digestive system.

  1. GERD (Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease)

People who find they need to take antacid medications on an ongoing basis may well be dealing with gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease and not be aware of it. The problem there is that overuse of antacids causes many problems on its own, and it will do nothing to improve your GERD if that’s what you have.

GERD is when you have stomach acid backing up into your esophagus. This results in the most telltale symptom – a burning sensation in the middle of your chest that occurs some time after you’ve eaten a meal.

Aciphex (Rabeprazole) is an effective medication for the treating GERD and works to heal erosive esophagitis, and is often the first choice for physicians with patients experience severe GERD.

  1. Celiac Disease

Gluten is in so many of the foods we love. Breads are the most obvious ones, but did you know that gluten is even in beer and store-bought salad dressings? It’s hard not to eat any form of a standard diet here in North America and not be ingesting gluten. If you’re allergic to gluten, you may have celiac disease. It’s among the sneakier of the diseases that affect the digestive system.

How’s that? Well it’s estimated that 83% of people who Celiac disease don’t know they have it, or have had it misdiagnosed.

The symptoms here are different for children or adults. For children it’s abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and weight loss. For adults, the symptoms are anemia, fatigue, depression, and mood instability.

Unfortunately, the only approach to treating celiac disease is to stop eating gluten.

  1. Crohn’s Disease

Many of the diseases that affect the digestive system are based in inflammation. Crohn’s disease is likely the best example of inflammatory digestive problems. What happens is the digestive tract becomes so inflamed that the person experiences severe pain in their lower torso. This pain is made worse by certain foods or other external environmental factors.

Another interesting thing about Crohn’s is that it seems to be a disease that is often genetic. This means if someone on your mother’s or father’s side of the family has it then it’s more likely that you’ll develop it.

Entocort (Budesonide) is an effective medication for Crohn’s that works to decrease inflammation in the intestine and colon.

These are just 3 of the different diseases that affect the digestive system, but they are 3 of the most common ones seen in people of all ages here in North America. As is the case with any persisting ailment, you should always make an appointment to discuss it with your physician.

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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