The tube that carries food to your stomach from your throat is called the oesophagus. When the muscular valve (lower oesophagus sphincter) in the oesophagus fails to relax and carry the food to the stomach, the condition is termed as achalasia.
Achalasia has a variety of causes, and can be difficult for your doctor to diagnose the exact cause. Some common causes of achalasia include:
1. Hereditary predispositions
2. Autoimmune disorders (The immune system erroneously destroys healthy cells in the body)
3. Nerve degeneration in the oesophagus
There other medical conditions that often lead to symptoms identical to achalasia, such as oesophageal cancer and Chagas’ disease (an infectious disease caused by a parasite).
Other symptoms of achalasia include:
The most prominent symptom of achalasia is dysphagia, which is characterised by swallowing difficulties or sensations of food stuck in the oesophagus. Dysphagia often triggers coughing and shortness of breath or choking on food.
1. Discomfort or pain in the chest
2. Weight loss
4. Intense discomfort or pain after eating
Most of the methods to treat achalasia focus on the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). The treatments used can either permanently alter the sphincter’s function, or reduce symptoms.
1. Oral medications such as calcium channel blockers or nitrates are prescribed, which can relax the LES to let food pass through with more ease. Your doctor may also treat the LES with Botox.
2. For a more permanent treatment, the sphincter can be dilated or altered. In dilation, a balloon is inserted into the oesophagus and it is inflated. This will stretch out your oesophagus to improve function.
3. To alter the oesophagus, oesophagomyotomy is performed. It is a kind of surgery where minimal incisions are made to gain access to the LES, and then it is carefully altered to improve flow of food to the stomach.
Unlike dilation, which can cause complications such as tears in the oesophagus, oesophagomyotomy has a greater success rate. However, certain complications may still arise, such as:
1. Acid reflux
2. Respiratory conditions that are caused by food entering your windpipe
Difficulty in swallowing solids or liquids is called dysphagia.
|• Enlarged tonsils.
• Cancer of the oral cavity.
• Fungal infection of the mouth.
• Cerebro-vascular accidents.
• Motor neuron disease [a nerve disorder].
• Myasthenia gravis [fatigue and exhaustion of the muscular system with progressive muscular paralysis].
• Parkinsonism [a group of neurological disorder marked by diminished motor activity, tremor and muscular rigidity].
• Pharyngo-esophageal diverticulum [pouch/sac].
• Pharyngeal pouch.
• Post-cricoid web.
• Achalasia [failure of the sphincter at the junction of the esophagus and the stomach, to relax].
• Diffuse esophageal spasm.
• Abnormal course of subclavian artery.
• Peptic stricture.
• External compression from mediastinal masses.
• Dilated left atrium [chamber of heart] in mitral stenosis.
|SIGN AND SYMPTOMS:|
|• Difficulty in swallowing solids or liquids or both.
• Nasal regurgitation or cough, while swallowing.
• Difficulty in swallowing when watched by others [in Parkinsonism].
• Sensation of fullness in the middle of the chest with a feeling as if the food had stopped somewhere along the esophagus.
• Regurgitation relieves pain and fullness in the centre of the chest.
• Need to drink water while eating.
• Can lead to malnutrition.
|• Treat the cause.
• Eat soft, semisolid or mashed food, which is easy to swallow.
• Consume soups – vegetable, tomatoes, and green leafy vegetables etc.
• Have fruits juices, sugarcane juice, buttermilk, and milk.
• Make different porridge- wheat porridge, rice porridge or lentil porridge etc.
• Boil food properly and then mash it so it's easy to swallow.
• Try to make different varieties so all nutrients are consumed to prevent malnutrition.
• Eat small quantities of food at regular intervals.
• In severe cases where food is supplied to the body through food pipe,feed different varieties of soups, porridge and juices.
|• Do not speak while eating.
• Eat your food very slowly.
• Chew the food well.
Achalasia is a very rare disease. Normally, your esophagus squeezes food down by making the muscular valve in between the stomach and esophagus relax. Achalasia occurs when this muscular valve is unable to relax and thus the esophagus is unable to squeeze the food down. The most common reason why this happens is because the nerves in your esophagus are damaged. The nerves most commonly get damaged because of abnormalities in the way your immune system responds. Till now, there is no cure to achalasia; however surgery or minimally invasive therapy can make the symptoms of achalasia more manageable. Here are all the causes and symptoms of achalasia:
If the food is regurgitating in the night, then the lungs may have been inhaling some food. This is very serious and you should see the doctor immediately if this occurs.
3. Chest pain
You may suddenly experience chest pain from a completely unknown cause.
4. Weight loss
You may also suffer from sudden weight loss if you have achalasia. This is due to the reduced amount of food you will be consuming.
Heartburn is when you have a very intense burning pain in your chest just behind your breastbone which is most commonly caused by regurgitation in your esophagus.
The exact cause of achalasia is not yet known. However, there are some theories on what causes achalasia. Here they are.
The most common cause of achalasia is genes.
2. Autoimmune disease
An autoimmune disease is when your immune system attacks your body's own cells. Achalasia is a type of autoimmune disease.
There have also been a lot of claims that infections are the cause of achalasia.
Tonsillitis:- infectious and inflammatory condition of tonsils is termed as tonsillitis.
Swallowing food comes naturally to human beings. But when there is a problem, it is usually called Dysphagia. Esophagus, a muscular tube-like organ located at the back of our throat, usually helps in swallowing food and transferring them to our stomach. When esophagus does not function properly, dysphagia happens. Patients suffering from brain or nerve disorder, seniors and babies might have this problem.
People with dysphagia might witness the following issues:
There are 2 main reasons, why the Esophagus might become dysfunctional.
There can be a number of reasons for both the condition. Here are the reasons why the muscles and nerves might not work.
Certain diseases can create problems with your nervous system, which in turn can affect the esophagus. These diseases are polio, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease.
The esophagus might be blocked because of these reasons: