Barrett’s Esophagus is often linked with recurring gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD). That means, if you have frequent symptoms of Acid Reflux, you may have this syndrome. It happens if excessive acid is produced in the lower esophagus region of the digestive system. The Esophagus is a type of tissue that connects the human mouth and the stomach. The tissue lining gets replaced by the tissue similar to the intestinal lining in the case of Barrett’s Esopjahgus due to acid reflux or concurrent gastronomical diseases.
The changing of tissue lining does not show any visible signs. Patients usually suffer symptoms related to GERD or recurring acid reflux. Doctors often diagnose the disease through related symptoms. These are-
- Frequent acid reflux
- Recurring heartburn
- Patients who have Barrett’s Esophagus may face problems swallowing food normally
- In some patients, chest pain relates to acid reflux is also observed.
So, if someone suffers from these symptoms, that person can visit a doctor to check if they have Barrett’s Esophagus or not.
Factors that increase the chance of the disease:
There are few factors which can increase your chances of getting Barrett’s Esophagus-
- Age- Usually, older people have higher chances of getting the disease. But younger people can also suffer.
- GERD- Recurring gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD) which needs constant medical attention to be in limit is one of the common risk factors.
- Weight- Excessive weight also increases the risk of getting Barrett’s Esophagus
- Sex- Men have higher chances of having this disease than women.
- Chain-smoking also increases risk.
Barrett’s Esophagus increases the chance of Esophagul cancer. Patients who smoke or use tobacco products can have higher chances of suffering from squamous cell cancer. The people who suffer from GERD may have an increased risk of contacting adenocarcinoma or Esophagus. Patients who get Dysplasia or precancerous changes in their esophagus tissue have the highest chance of getting cancer in their later life. But, most of the patents do not get cancer.
Doctors check the previously mentioned symptoms along with medical tests. Endoscopy is the best medical test to determine if a patient has Barrett’s Esophagus or not. In the case of a patient suffering from this disease, the esophagus tissue appears red and velvet-like in the camera. A biopsy test is performed to check if the patient has Dysplasia.
Treatments depend on the intensity of the disease-
- Patients who have GERD are given medications to control the acid reflux and are also advised dietary and lifestyle changes to lead a healthy life.
- If someone has mild Dysplasia, then doctors may recommend the removal of the affected cells through Endoscopic resection or radiotherapy.
- Patients who have severe Dysplasia have higher chances of cancer. Doctors offer cryotherapy or photodynamic therapy to destroy the cells with extreme cold or heat.
- In some cases, patients may be recommended surgery.
A healthy lifestyle and proper medication can keep Barrett’s Esophagus in control. So, patients need to maintain their lifestyle in the right way.