What is Achalasia? Know its Symptoms, Causes and Home remedies
Achalasia is a rare but serious disease that usually affects the oesophagus i.e, the food pipe. The oesophagus is a type of tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. Apart from this, there is also a lower oesophagal spectrum in the body that is not able to open properly while chewing food due to achalasia due to which the chewed food remains in the tube. In this situation, sometimes the nerves of the food pipe also get damaged. Thus, a person suffering from this disorder finds it extremely difficult to swallow food. Also, there is discomfort in the oesophagus.
A person suffering from achalasia has to face problems like indigestion, vomiting, chest pain, burning sensation and weight loss because, in this disease, the oesophagus does function properly. As a result, food does not mix with saliva to reach the stomach through the food pipe.
Symptoms of Achalasia
Achalasia affects the body in many ways. People with this disease often have difficulty swallowing food and liquids due to which they feel that food is stuck in their throat. The disease mostly affects people between the ages of 25 and 60. The symptoms of this disease can last for several months or even years. Hence its symptoms are as follows:
- Pain and nervousness after eating.
- Chest pain and discomfort.
- Difficulty swallowing liquids or solids.
- Feeling like a lump in the throat.
- Weight loss.
- Burning in chest.
- Feeling stressed etc.
- Sometimes in some people without any symptoms, problems like sudden shortness of breath, phlegm in the throat, food or something stuck in the throat are also seen. Apart from this, symptoms like food coming back from the food pipe and acid reflux also start appearing.
Causes of Achalasia
There is no exact cause of this disease. This can happen due to various reasons such as genetic, autoimmune disorders, and viral infections. During an autoimmune disorder, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body which also affects the nerves of the oesophagus due to which the person starts having difficulty in swallowing while eating or drinking something.
Treatment and Screening process of Achalasia
To treat and diagnose achalasia, doctors conduct some tests to examine the body of the victim and also try to know the family’s medical history. The tests & procedures are-
Through this test, the contraction of muscles in the oesophagus is observed while swallowing food by which it is ascertained how much the lower oesophagal sphincter is opening and closing while swallowing food.
For this procedure, the inner lining of the patient's digestive system is first filled with a special fluid. After that, the upper part of the digestive system, the upper part of the stomach and intestine and the food pipe are examined. For this procedure, the patient is given a barium tablet to eat which helps to check for obstruction in the oesophagus.
In this procedure, the doctor examines the oesophagus and stomach by inserting a flexible tube containing a light and camera into the patient's throat. Through this test, the blockage in the food pipe is checked. Apart from this, the tissue sample is taken and sent to the laboratory for an acid reflux test.
Myotomy is a surgical procedure in which the oesophagus is cut slightly to open the sphincter muscle of the patient. Thus this surgery gives the patient a permanent solution to swallowing.
Pre-oral endoscopic myotomy-
This is a new treatment in which instead of operating, the patient is given myotomy using a gastroscope.
Apart from all this, in some cases, an attempt is made to increase the patient's oesophagal sphincter by inserting a balloon so that the patient's oesophagal sphincter can open slightly. This process is repeated over and over again when the oesophagal sphincter does not open.
Home remedies for Achalasia
In the case of achalasia, this problem can be avoided to a great extent by making some lifestyle changes and adopting the right eating habits. Therefore, these changes are as follows-
- Drink plenty of water when suffering from achalasia. Apart from this, drink water in between while eating because, with the help of water, there is less trouble in swallowing food.
- When suffering from achalasia, take only a liquid diet instead of a solid for a few days.
- During this time, drink carbonated beverages in appropriate amounts. This increases the pressure on the oesophagus and it easily reaches the stomach.
- Take a healthy liquid diet supplement if you are losing weight due to achalasia.
- Eat a diet rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals to reduce malnutrition and physical weakness during achalasia.
- When suffering from achalasia, the patient should consume foods like curd, milk, porridge, oats, juice and soup.
- Always chew the food thoroughly and eat it.
- When suffering from achalasia, avoid consumption of anything that causes difficulty in swallowing.
- Do not consume anything that causes constipation or gas in the stomach at the time of achalasia.
- Exercise daily.
- While sleeping, sleep with the head slightly above the pillow or any other mattress. By doing this, the oesophagal promote the emptying of the contents of the stomach and the patient does not have much difficulty in breathing.