digestive illnesses | gutCARE - Part 2

Liver Illness

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June 24, 2018

Liver Illness

Most liver illnesses involve some form of hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), which over time, results in liver cirrhosis (hardening of the liver).

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects the liver. It is transmitted from mother to child mostly in this part of the world. Another mode of transmission is through sexual contact. Not all patient with hepatitis B needs treatment but they all are at risk of liver cancer. Treatment of hepatitis B does not result in a cure but merely in the suppression of the virus.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is another viral infection that affects the liver. It is transmitted primarily through the sharing of a needle. All patient with hepatitis C needs treatment. It is treated with oral medication for three to six months. The cure rate can be as high as 98% with the appropriate therapy.

Fatty Liver

Fatty liver occurs as a result of an excess of energy intake over expenditure. This takes place over a long period of time. In addition, there are also many contributing complex interactions between factors such as toxin from the gut, gut microbe, fructose intake, and hormonal influences. Some patient will develop inflammation and hardening of the liver.

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Alcoholic liver disease occurs as a result of excessive alcohol intake over a long period of time. Fat accumulation, inflammation, and hardening eventually occur. Some people are genetically more susceptible to alcoholic liver disease than others.

Cirrhosis Of The Liver

Cirrhosis is the hardening of the liver. After repeated episodes of injury, the liver regenerates in a haphazard manner, resulting in accumulation of increasing amount of fibrous tissues and distortion of the original liver architecture. Many functions of the liver are eventually compromised. Once the liver can no longer function properly, it decompensates. Symptoms of decompensation include swelling of lower limbs and abdomen, confusion, vomiting blood, jaundice, and shortness of breath. Severe cases would also have kidney failure.

Variceal Bleeding

Liver hardening (cirrhosis) can cause the blood vessels in the esophagus and stomach to dilate. These abnormal vessels can bleed. The bleeding can be very severe and often can be life-threatening. Emergency gastroscopy is required to stop the bleeding. The bleeding can sometimes be prevented by medication and endoscopic ligation of the varices.

Autoimmune Liver Disease

Autoimmune liver disease usually affects women. It is inflammation of the liver caused by an abnormal immune reaction of the body towards the liver cells. Untreated, it can lead to liver hardening and its complication. Treatment of autoimmune liver disease requires some immune suppressants.

Primary Biliary Cholangitis

Primary biliary cholangitis usually affects middle-aged women. They can have symptoms such as tiredness and itch. The more advanced cases will result in liver hardening. They are usually treated with a medication called ursodeoxycholic acid.


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June 24, 2018

Heart valve disorders can affect any of the valves in your heart. Your heart valves have flaps that open and close with each heartbeat, allowing blood to flow through the heart’s upper and lower chambers and to the rest of your body. The upper chambers of the heart are the atria, and the lower chambers of the heart are the ventricles.


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June 24, 2018

Pancreas Illness

Pancreas is an organ located deep inside the upper abdomen that produces enzyme for digestion of food and hormone such as insulin.

Pancreatic Cyst

Pancreatic cyst are usually discovered during health screening because they generally do not produce symptoms. Evaluation of pancreatic cyst may involve imaging such as MRI or CT scan. Endoscopic ultrasound with biopsy in selected cases is regarded as the most accurate way to evaluated pancreatic cyst. Most pancreatic cysts are not cancerous and can be monitored. The larger ones need evaluation because they either can have potential to be cancerous or are already cancerous.

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a dreaded cancer that has high death rate. It often present late. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer can include pain in the middle of the upper abdomen and loss of weight. Some patient may have jaundice and pale stool.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. There are 2 types of pancreatitis: acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. Patients with acute pancreatitis has severe upper abdominal pain that go to the back. The severity of the pain means that almost all are managed as inpatient. The more severe pancreatitis need to be managed in intensive care units. Chronic pancreatitis also presents as upper abdominal pain. In addition, they may have chronic diarrhoea, malabsorption and diabetes.


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June 24, 2018

 

Dyspepsia And Peptic Ulcer Disease

Dyspepsia is the proper term for abdominal pain or discomfort in the middle of the upper abdomen. Sometimes it is caused by Helicobacter infection. This infection can lead to stomach ulcer, duodenal ulcer or even cancer, all of which can give rise to dyspepsia. Many medication such as pain killers can also cause dyspepsia. Quite often, no identifiable cause is found on gastroscopy and testing for helicobacter pylori and it is then called functional dyspepsia.

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

Cyclic vomiting syndrome is closely related to migraine disorder. Typically the patient will have recurrent episodes of severe vomiting with intervening weeks and months of good health. The episodes can last for a few days and it is often misdiagnosed as food poisoning. Often the disease can be undiagnosed for years.

Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer is one of the most common cancer in Singapore. Early stomach cancer has no symptoms and requires screening gastroscopy to detect. Sometimes stomach cancer can give symptoms such as pain in the upper abdomen, difficulty swallowing and loss of weight.


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February 1, 2018

The esophagus, otherwise known as the gullet or swallowing tube, is the “pipe” that links the mouth to the stomach, and allows food to pass down after chewing and swallowing into the rest of the digestive tract where digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs.

It’s an important structure, and a number of diseases can affect its function and overall gut health. Some of them are listed below:

GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease)

Backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus can cause symptoms such as heartburn a bitterness in the throat and a variety of other symptoms. The diagnosis is made by endoscopy or a special reflux study. Treatment involves lifestyle changes in tandem with medicine and sometimes surgery.  (Click to read more)

Barrett’s Esophagus

Barrett’s is a change in the lining of the esophagus as a result of constant and chronic reflux. This condition needs to be managed and monitored, as there is a small potential for malignancy. (Click to read more)

Esophageal Dysmotility

The movement of food down the esophagus does not happen by gravity but is a result of coordinated contractions involving the nerves and muscles. A disruption of this can result in swallowing difficulties and significantly impair one’s quality of life. Diagnosis involves the use of High-Resolution Esophageal Manometry and a pH-Impedance test, and once the correct diagnosis has been made, effective treatment can be given.

Achalasia

This is one of the most significant disorders of swallowing, where the esophagus movement stops and the valve allowing food to enter the stomach is jammed. The diagnosis and subtyping is confirmed by High-Resolution Esophageal Manometry, and effective treatment can be given.

Pill Esophagitis

This is a common condition when tablets or pills are not swallowed properly and get stuck in the narrowest part of the esophagus, and the medication in the pills get into contacts with the esophagus and results in painful ulcers forming.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis

This condition presents in a variety of ways, and can sometimes mimic a heart attack. It’s a result of an allergic reaction of the esophagus causing allergic type cells to accumulate and cause damage to the lining of the esophagus. Accurate diagnosis by endoscopy and biopsy to see the cells is crucial before treatment can be instituted.  

Esophageal Cancer

Cancer of the esophagus most commonly occurs in an elderly male with a strong history of smoking and drinking alcohol. They usually have symptoms such as difficulty in swallowing and loss of weight.


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