Atrophic Gastritis - What It Is, Symptoms and Treatmentsthis condition. In additionAtrophic gastritisis one form of the disease occurs in about 20% of all cases of gastritis. THEAtrophic gastritisdevelops when the lining of the stomach has been inflamed for several years. Inflammation is most often the result of a bacterial infection caused by bacterium H. pylori. The bacterium breaks down the mucus barrier that protects the lining of the stomach from the acidic juices that aid in digestion. The infection will gradually destroy the cells in the lining of the stomach if left untreated.
In some cases, theAtrophic gastritisoccurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the lining of the stomach. This is known asAtrophic gastritisautoimmune disease.
Causes of Atrophic Gastritis:THEAtrophic gastritisis often caused by bacteria H. pylori. Bacterial infection occurs most often during childhood and worsens over time if left untreated. Direct contact with the feces, vomit or saliva of an infected person can spread
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TheAtrophic gastritisdevelops when your body produces antibodies that attack healthy stomach cells by mistake. Antibodies are proteins that help your body recognize and fight infections. They usually attack harmful substances such as bacteria and viruses. However, antibodies in people with autoimmune AG wrongly attack the stomach cells responsible for producing acidic juices that aid in digestion.
Antibodies can also attack a substance known as intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a protein released by the stomach cells that helps to absorb vitamin B-12. Lack of intrinsic factors can cause a disease called pernicious anemia. In this disease, a B-12 deficiency makes it difficult or impossible for your body to produce enough red blood cells..
Symptoms of Atrophic Gastritis:Many cases ofAtrophic gastritisare not diagnosed because there are usually no symptoms. However, if there is an H. Common pylori symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Unexpected weight loss
- Stomach ulcers
- Iron deficiency anemia (a low level of healthy red blood cells)
THEAtrophic gastritisAutoimmune can lead to a B-12 deficiency, which can cause symptoms of anemia, including:.
- Chest pain
- Heart Palpitations
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
A B-12 deficiency can also cause nerve damage, which can lead to:.
- Numbness of limbs and tingling
- Instability when walking
- Mental confusion
Risk Factors of Atrophic Gastritis:You are more likely to developAtrophic gastritisif you have an H. infection pylori. This type of infection is quite common all over the world. It is most prevalent in the areas of poverty and overcrowding.
THEAtrophic gastritisAutoimmune is quite rare, but people with thyroid disorders or diabetes are more likely to have this condition. You are also at risk if you are an African-American or descendant from northern Europe.
THEAtrophic gastritisis more common in people who are of Hispanic or Asian origin. Both theAtrophic gastritisand autoimmuneAtrophic gastritiscan significantly increase the risk of stomach cancer..
Diagnosis of Atrophic Gastritis:A diagnosis ofAtrophic gastritisusually involves a combination of clinical observation and testing. During a physical examination, your doctor will check for sensitivity to the stomach by lightly pressing some areas of the stomach. They will also look for signs of B-12 deficiency such as pallor, rapid pulse, and neurological deficits.
Your doctor may order blood tests to check:
- Low levels of pepsinogen, a protein produced by the cells of the stomach
- High levels of gastrin, a hormone that stimulates the production of gastric acid
- Low levels of B-12 (for people who may haveAtrophic gastritisautoimmune)
- Antibodies that attack stomach cells and intrinsic factors (for people who may haveAtrophic gastritisautoimmune)
In some cases, your doctor may need to do a biopsy. Your doctor will insert an endoscope (a long, slender instrument with a light fixture) through your throat and into your stomach. They will then take a tissue sample from the stomach to look for evidence ofAtrophic gastritis. The stomach tissue sample may also indicate signs of an H. infection. pylori..
Treatments of Atrophic Gastritis:Most people withAtrophic gastritisyou will see an improvement in symptoms once the condition is treated. Treatment usually focuses on the elimination of H. pylori with the use of antibiotics. Your doctor may also prescribe medications that reduce or neutralize stomach acid. A less acid environment helps your stomach heal.
People withAtrophic gastritisautoimmune diseases can also be treated with B-12 injections..
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Prevention of Atrophic Gastritis:THEAtrophic gastritisis difficult to prevent, but you can reduce your risk of getting an H. infection. practicing good hygiene. This includes washing hands after using the toilet and before and after handling food. Parents or caregivers of young children should be sure to wash their hands after handling dirty diapers or bedding. Teach your children good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of bacteria..
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