Prof. Dr. Konstantin Chernev: Every second person after the age of 50 has gastritis

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Prof. Dr. Konstantin Chernev: Every second person after the age of 50 has gastritis
Prof. Dr. Konstantin Chernev: Every second person after the age of 50 has gastritis

One of the most common diseases of the gastric mucosa is gastritis. The reasons for the development of gastritis are many and varied, most often it is a bad diet - overeating, overdoing it with fatty, spicy, highly seasoned foods. Gastritis can be triggered by severe stress and excessive alcohol consumption

“Very often the reason for the development of gastritis is drugs, for example aspirin, but also many others. Gastritis can also be a consequence of poisoning with chemical preparations, quinine or as a consequence of an infectious disease, as well as infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. The disease worsens in autumn, so then exclude coffee and alcohol. The incidence of gastritis is decreasing worldwide, but reflux disease is increasing. This is mainly due to the intake of certain medicines, as well as fast food, fried dishes", explained the gastroenterologist Prof. Dr. Konstantin Chernev.

Prof. Chernev, why does autumn bring us more stomachaches?

- Stomach diseases are aggravated at the change of seasons, but it is not possible to say exactly what this is due to. For example, in autumn, the atmospheric pressure changes, the temperature drops, a certain change in nutrition is observed. All this places higher demands on the body and, in a certain sense, is a stress for it. This can lead to an increase in gastrin release and saline-acid secretion. Thus, patients with gastritis or ulcers feel aggravation or intensification of pain, heaviness after eating, burning, heartburn. But all this can also happen in the spring, when the weather also changes.

In autumn or winter, complications such as bleeding ulcer and perforation occur more often than in summer. In the last 15 - 20 years, the ulcer disease has been observed much less often, because we already know the cause. However, gastritis is still quite common. Practically, after the age of 50, half of people have gastritis.

Therefore, if a person has any complaints of the gastrointestinal tract, he should be tested for the presence of Helicobacter pylori. However, if alarming symptoms are present - severe pain, anemia, weight loss, vomiting blood, this requires a mandatory endoscopic examination, especially if the patient is over 50 years old.

How many types of gastritis do you recognize and what are its symptoms?

- There are two types of gastritis - acute and chronic, and chronic can be superficial, hypertrophic or atrophic depending on the type of gastritis and its symptoms. With acute gastritis, there is pain in the area of the solar plexus, bad breath, nausea and vomiting. There may be a slight increase in temperature and chills, lack of appetite and, as a result, general fatigue. In chronic gastritis there is

dull pain in solar plexus

loss of appetite or increased appetite, heartburn, belching. In hypertrophic gastritis, there is frequent belching and strong heartburn, the appetite is preserved. This type of chronic gastritis is characteristic of alcoholics.

The most severe form of gastritis is atrophic. It is characterized by constant pain, constant dryness and bad taste in the mouth. Diarrhea often occurs after eating. The patient is pale, with a smoothed, cracked and red tongue. An examination called a gastroscopy may be required. It consists of inserting a fiberoptic device through the mouth, with the help of which the mucous membranes are examined, and if necessary, tissue is taken for examination in a laboratory.

What are the risk factors that can trigger the disease?

- Stomach ulcers and gastritis usually appear in patients over 40 years of age, and the incidence of duodenal ulcers peaks at around 60 years of age.

Nicotine increases gastric secretion and decreases blood flow to the stomach and duodenum. This leads to exacerbation of the ulcer and gastritis. Alcohol can also cause gastritis by stimulating gastric secretion and mucosal damage. However, there is no data on its role in ulcer formation, but it is a fact that it exacerbates symptoms. Patients should avoid agents that aggravate gastritis or the "hand" of the ulcer. These agents are cigarettes, alcohol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, and steroids.

What is the treatment?

- When it comes to treating acute gastritis, the patient should stay in bed for some time. Stop eating and drink only liquids - water or chamomile tea. After a day or two, he can start feeding with soups, porridges and purees.

In chronic gastritis, treatment is related to a prescribed diet, a strict diet, good chewing of food, giving up harmful habits. If gastritis is a consequence of an illness, the underlying disease is treated

Lack of treatment for gastritis can lead to the development of an ulcer or stomach bleeding. Infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori significantly increases the risk of developing stomach cancer. Other complications are gastric perforation, erosion of the gastric mucosa and dehydration.

Can and how can we protect ourselves?

- Complaints in gastritis changes are non-specific and uncharacteristic and can often be confused with another cause. Prevention of gastritis is very difficult, since in most cases it develops according to unclear mechanisms. Since chronic gastritis is often a consequence of acute, measures should be taken to deal with its harbingers. These are mostly stressful events such as blood loss, extensive burns, overloading, major surgical interventions, etc. In such cases, gastroprotectors and antacids are taken.

It is extremely necessary to strictly avoid external damaging factors that can lead to gastritis, such as taking certain medications, especially non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, overeating and alcohol use, as well as any other aggressive factors that can to irritate the stomach.

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