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Understanding Gastric Disorders

Updated on December 31, 2014

How Gastric Acid Works

Gastric acid is a digestive fluid formed in the stomach, produced by parietal or oxyntic cells. It is stimulated by the nutritional composition of the food eaten. Gastric acid secretion in the stomach occurs in three phases:

i. the celaphic phase is the first which involves the secretion to be produced being stimulated by anticipation of eating, the smell and the taste of food. The signalling occurs from higher centres of the brain through the Vagus nerve which activates the parietal cells to release the acid.

ii. Second is the gastric phase whereby about fifty percent of the total acid for a meal is secreted whose stimulation is caused by the distension of the stomach and the amino acids present in the food.

iii. Finally, there is the intestinal phase whereby it accounts for a small proportion of the acid secretor response to a meal.

What Causes Gastric Disorders

Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) results in a defect in the regulation of gastric production by that part of the stomach thus increased or decreased gastric secretion. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) happens as a result of incompetence of the lower oesophageal sphincter allowing a reflux of gastric content into the oesophagus. It causes increased gastric contents as there is continual stimulation and production of gastric acid.

Gastric disorders result from disrupted balance between formation of caustic gastric acid and maintenance of mucosal barrier. It causes the stomach lining to become very thin hence losing most or all of the cells that produce acids hence a reduction in gastric secretion.

How gastric Disorders Affect Behaviour

GERD may be associated with an increased frequency of relaxation , such as in obesity owing perhaps to increased sensitivity to distention, and in diabetes owing to the effect of hyperglycemia.

Physical activity could affect Peptic Ulcer Disease through several biologic mechanisms, such as enhancing the immune system's ability to neutralize the effects of H pylori, plummeting excess acid secretion, and convalescing a person's ability to cope with stressful situations.

Regularity in the daily routine can be extremely effective in reducing physiological imbalance at the basis of gastritis as it maintains the body’s natural balancing cycles to cleanse and heal effectively.

Diagnosis of Gastric Disorders

Stomach pain is the first symptom of PUD and further tests to affirm the invasion of H. Pylori would be a breath test that uses radioactive carbon atom to detect the bacteria. Patients would be treated with antacids or H2 antagonists.

With the presence of the bacteria, the most effective treatment would be to administer a combination of two antibiotics and one proton pump inhibitor, sometimes with a bismuth compound. For GERD patients, a clinical diagnosis is performed also checking with the family history of the patient. Those within typical symptoms may be given a trial of therapy.

Treatment of Gastric Disorders

Treatment would involve the head of the bed being elevated, avoiding alcohol, fats, coffee and smoking and administering proton pump inhibitors. Gastritis is noted when a person has upper abdominal discomfort or pain or nausea. If uncertain, an examination of the stomach using an endoscope may be needed. For mild symptoms administering antacids is sufficient drug that reduce acid production like histamine-2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors.


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