The modern lifestyle has given prominence to several health issues. While the problems associated with a polluted environment are the indirect ones, we have several health issues as a direct result of our ‘cosmopolitan’ lifestyles.
Where the social life is lived in parties and gatherings, alcohol is a prominent part of one’s social life. Not to mention the amount of stress each of us handles at workplaces and even in personal lives. Gastritis is one of the dozen-odd manifestations of such a lifestyle.
As serious as it sounds in its description and diagnosis, this bugger of a disease gives the patient an uncomfortable time with slight pain that often drives them up the wall. Nausea and vomiting, a bloated abdomen accompanied by pain, annoying hiccups and gnawing sound in an empty stomach are the clear symptoms.
Secondary symptoms include headaches which rarely, and in severe cases causes blackouts. Loss of appetite is also a symptom, which when present along with any of the above symptoms confirms that the patient has gastritis.
Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach wall lining and is primarily caused by high levels of stress, excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco and in some cases the misuse of anti-inflammatory drugs. The responsible pathogen is the Helicobacter Pylori or H. Pylori in short.
The bacteria causes Gastritis in a select few of its patients, still few develop some other stomach disorder while the large majority is unaffected by the pathogen. Abuse of anti-inflammatory meds, alcohol, and tobacco are attributed to both chronic and acute gastritis, apart from these, old age to makes the body vulnerable to the disorder.
The diagnostic procedures range from tests of the patient’s blood and/or stool samples, X-ray scans and can even be done by more technically complex procedures such as a breath test, endoscopy followed by a biopsy. “I’m never getting gastritis!” readers would think to themselves, and so they must keep in mind some things.
Giving longer than usual gaps in between meals should be avoided, one of the reasons why people grab some bites in the long gap between lunch and dinner. Drugs such as aspirin and other anti-inflammation meds should be taken only when prescribed, all sorts of fried and spicy foodstuff must be avoided for they aggravate the symptoms, while green veggies, carrot juice, celery and all things we love to avoid must be taken in more than usual amounts.
Avoiding the above-said eatables becomes extremely important especially for cases of chronic gastritis, for the disorder can manifest into far more serious ones such as ulcers which are a real pain in the neck, metaphorically.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. To the disorder at bay, one must keep an eye on one’s diet and lifestyle, for gorging on spicy, fried food, smoking, and alcohol are prime causes of gastritis when their intake is not stemmed.
Since there’s only so much we can do to keep stress levels low, the diet must be a healthy one, packed with fresh fruits, vegetables and their juices, certain light meats and seafood. The surroundings too have a hand in prevention, ingestion of toxins, exposure to radiation and chemicals can in some cases, cause the problem. Hygiene too has an important role to play.
When it comes to treating gastritis, the course depends on the underlying cause, depending on which the doctor puts the patient on a course of antibiotics. Other than that in most of the mild cases, the patients are put on a course of antacids to reduce the acid release allowing the lining to heal itself, generic anti-histamines like ranitidine suffice.
Gastritis must not be taken lightly though its symptoms are akin to those of a simple case of a stomachache. A doctor’s consultation is essential for the timely and effective diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
Patients must adhere to the restrictions on food and activities in order to keep a check and more importantly, prevent its manifestation into more serious health complications such as peptic ulcers, ulcer bleed.
Ulcers are the most common outcome of an ignored cause of chronic gastritis. It permanently affects the stomach lining and becomes a nagging problem with a lifetime of stomach-centric issues.