The condition known as Barrett’s Esophagus is a described as a complication associated with chronic GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is mainly diagnosed in white males. GERD is classified as a type of disease whereby reflux of acidic fluids that come from the stomach goes into the area of the esophagus.
BARRETT’S ESOPHAGUS SYMPTOMS
The symptoms and signs that have been mentioned in a variety of sources for the condition known as Barrett’s Esophagus are inclusive of these 6 symptoms:
• Chronic cough
• Chest pain
The Two Requirements To Diagnose Barrett’s Esophagus
The requirements will require an endoscopy of the patient’s esophagus. During the process of an endoscopy, a flexible and long tube with a camera and a light on its tip will be inserted into the patient’s mouth and pushed down into the area of the esophagus to take a biopsy (tissue sample) from the esophagus lining. The two requirements will include the following:
• From the endoscopy, a salmon-colored or pink lining which is abnormal will be seen, which replaces the usual whitish-lining of the normal esophagus. This lining which is abnormal will typically extend for less than 2.5 inches up the lining of the esophagus from the GE junction (gastroesophageal junction). This is where the stomach and the esophagus join.
• The microscopic evaluation of this biopsy of the abnormal lining will show that the normal cells of the lining in the esophagus are replaced by an intestinal-type lining cells. This includes goblet cells which are mucus-producing cells. Other cells that may also be present include the cells which line the area of the stomach. However, when there are no intestinal goblet cells present, a diagnosis for Barrett’s Esophagus is not possible.
The treatment involved with Barrett’s Esophagus is typically the same as it is for GERD, prilosec and the longterm omeprazole side effects. However, treatment for GERD which is typically either medical which involves acid-suppressing medications or surgical which involves fundoplication will not result in removing Barrett’s Esophagus or a reduction in cancer risks.
Dysplasia is known as the cellular processes that occur in a Barrett’s lining, which is an indication of the heightened risks associated with cancer. For this reason endoscopic biopsies on a periodic basis, of the Barrett’s mucosa need to be performed to look out for dysplasia. The suggested frequency after the first endoscopic-biopsy surveillance for a patient with Barrett’s without the presence of dysplasia is every six months. If after this surveillance there is no dysplasia present, then the next test should be conducted at least every 3 years.
If a low-grade of dysplasia is found, the endoscopic-biopsy surveillance needs to be conducted every 6 months indefinitely. Management of a higher grade dysplasia will involve a repeat of the biopsies very soon after the dysplasia has been found in order to rule out cancer. An Esophagectomy (surgically removing the esophagus) is the main standard of therapies for cancer and high-grade dysplasia.
What Factors Increase The Chances Of A Person Developing Barrett’s Esophagus
For the individuals who have GERD, they have an increased chance of developing Barrett’s Esophagus. It is estimated that between 10% and 15% of individuals with GERD will develop Barrett’s Esophagus. In addition, obesity, especially very high-levels of fat in the belly along with smoking will also increase a person’s chances of developing this condition.
Recognizing BARRETT’S ESOPHAGUS SYMPTOMS
The disease is not associated with any symptoms. However, due to the fact that the majority of people that have this condition will typically have GERD they will typically have frequent heartburn. It is advisable to see a doctor immediately when any of these BARRETT’S ESOPHAGUS SYMPTOMS occur:
• Finding it difficult to swallow
• Passing bloody, tarry or black stools
• Chest pains
• Vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds