There are many diseases of the digestive system, ranging from a simple indigestion to something as serious as cancer. The digestive system is an extremely important system of the human body. It helps in the break down of food and thereafter absorbs the nutrients from the broken down food. If the digestive system does not function properly, the overall health of the person will be affected. Hence, keeping the digestive system in good health is imperative.
Some of the diseases of the digestive system are highlighted below:
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. In this digestive system disease, the small intestine gets inflamed. While the precise cause of the disease is not known, health experts believe that it is an autoimmune disorder. The immune system attacks the food in the small intestine thinking it is a foreign body. This causes injury and inflammation to the small intestine. Symptoms of the disease include pain in the abdomen and diarrhea. While this can be symptoms of other diseases related to the digestive system, it has been seen that people suffering from Crohn’s disease have sections of the intestinal tissue that are healthy and diseased. The disease is incurable and symptoms can be relieved with the help of diet control and medications. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
Celiac disease develops when the body is not able to digest gluten, which is commonly found in barley, rye and wheat. This again is an autoimmune disorder. In a person suffering from celiac disease, consumption of gluten causes the immune system to attack the hair-like protrusions in the small intestine. This stops small intestine from absorbing nutrients. Usually, celiac disease is genetic and tends to run in families. It is estimated that over two million Americans suffer from it. Some of the symptoms commonly seen are bloating, pain in the abdomen and constant diarrhea. This disease can cause a person to lose weight. Treatment involves avoiding foods containing gluten.
Diverticular disease occurs when a pouch-like structure develops in the large intestine. At times, the person can have several pouches, leading to a condition known as diverticulosis. Sometimes, the pouches can also get inflamed leading to a condition called diverticulitis. Both diverticulosis and diverticulitis are called diverticular disease. Symptoms include pain in the lower part of the abdomen, constipation and bloating. Diverticulitis can be treated with the help of medication. However, if the inflammation is severe, hospitalization may be required.
Gastroparesis refers to the condition when the stomach takes a long time to transfer the food to the small intestine. In a healthy person, the vagus nerve is responsible for stomach contractions, which push the food into the small intestine. However, in some people this nerve does not work properly and as a result the contractions do not take place. Hence, food stays in the stomach longer than necessary. A few symptoms of gastroparesis are heartburn, pain in the upper part of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting and bloated feeling. Treatment involves eating small meals and using medications to empty out the food from the stomach.
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LiveStrong: Common Diseases Of The Human Digestive System