Acidity Symptoms- Causes and Risk Factors involved

BiologyDiseasesSymptoms

Introduction

Food is essential for us to obtain energy to perform metabolic processes. However, the food we eat cannot be assimilated in the form in which it is consumed. It is broken down into simple substances and is absorbed into the circulating fluids by the digestive system. The proper assimilation of nutrients in the food is ensured by its proper digestion and absorption. Proper digestion and absorption can occur only when the digestive system is functioning properly. A proper quantity of nutritional diet and a healthy lifestyle guarantees good health for the digestive system. Unhealthy dietary habits can lead to disorders of the digestive system and several health issues associated with them. Acidity is the most common of all the disorders of the digestive system and is associated with several risk factors if not checked at the right time.

Significance of Human Digestive System

The human digestive system comprises an alimentary canal and accessory digestive organs like the liver, pancreas, and salivary glands. This system ensures the proper utilization of consumed food and its significance is listed below:

  • The digestive system performs digestion i.e. the breakdown of macromolecules into simple absorbable molecules so that they get absorbed easily.

  • It ensures that any pathogen or harmful substance entering through the oral route is destroyed before it could spread to the other organs.

  • It ensures proper secretion of digestive material and a proper condition for these materials to act on the food.

  • The parts of the digestive system are also specialized for absorbing the digested material and adding them to the circulating fluid to transport them to the cells where they are needed.

  • The digestive system also specializes in absorbing water and eliminating metabolic or non-metabolic wastes like bile pigments and undigested food through faeces.

Common Disorders of the Human Digestive System

The irritable uneasiness of the digestive tract is called a digestive disorder or disease.

Disorders

Symptoms and causes

Lactose intolerance

  • The intake of milk products results in gas and bloating, and diarrhoea.

  • An individual with lactose intolerance is inefficient to digest the lactose in milk and milk products.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

  • The major symptoms include chest pain, difficulty in swallowing, and heartburn.

  • The contents in the stomach frequently move back into the tube joining the mouth and stomach, causing GERD.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  • A person with IBS can experience gas, extreme abdominal pain, and cramps.

  • IBS is a condition of abnormal contraction of colon muscle.

Peptic ulcer

  • The wounds is produced in the lining of the stomach, small intestine, and oesophagus resulting in abdominal pain.

  • These are generally developed as a result of inflammation due to Helicobacter pylori, and the use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.

Chronic constipation

  • An individual has a decreased bowel movement of fewer than three times a week and it extends for three weeks or more.

  • There are many causes including not drinking sufficient fluids, not eating adequate fibre, such as watery vegetables, fruits and cereals, being inactive, lack of exercise, and having side effects of medicines.

Gastroenteritis

  • The symptoms are fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, and headache.

  • The common causes are contaminated water and unhygienic hands. The infectious agents such as Helicobacter pylori, and frequent use of painkillers can cause infectious diarrhoea.

How to Prevent Different Disorders of the Digestive Tract?

Disorders

Prevention

Lactose intolerance

  • Reduce intake of milk and dairy products.

  • Consume supplements to break down the lactose.

GERD

  • Intake of sufficient quantity of food and avoid overeating.

  • Quit smoking

  • Stop consuming two to three hours before sleep.

  • Check excessive weight gain.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Drink an adequate amount of liquids

  • Consume plenty of fibre-rich foods in the daily diet such as beans, fruits, and watery vegetables

  • Reduce stress

  • Maintain regular exercise and be active

Peptic ulcer

  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco products

  • Frequent hand washing to avoid infections

Chronic constipation

  • Intake of fibre-rich foods.

  • Manage proper exercise and consume plenty of water.

  • Avoid half-cooked or uncooked foods.

Gastroenteritis

  • Avoid spicy and acidic foods

  • Quit alcohol

  • Avoid long-term use of medicines

  • Reduce stress

Causes of Acidity

Acidity is the excessive secretion of gastric acid that may result from various factors such as diet, eating habits, activities, and type of body.

Foods

  • The consumption of deep-fried foods for a long time can stimulate excessive acid production in the stomach.

  • The citrus fruits lemon, grapefruit, and orange increase the acidity in the already existing acidic medium of the stomach.

  • The high quantities of chillies, pepper, vinegar, and cinnamon can stimulate the excessive secretion of gastric acid.

Beverages

  • Caffeine drinks such as coffee, tea, chocolates, and soft drinks are highly acidic and trigger the production of gastric acid.

  • The intake of a lot of alcohol leads to irritation of the lining of the stomach and causes acidity. So, it is better to quit the consumption of alcohol.

Obesity

  • The overweight is additional stress to the abdomen that causes acidity.

Medications

  • Some painkillers, antibiotics, and non-steroids can injure the lining of the stomach and can cause heartburn.

Poor lifestyle routine

  • The habits include eating heavy meals, resting instantly after meals, smoking, and late-night eating causes heartburn or acidity.

Acidity Symptoms

The following are the common symptoms of acidity;

  • Heartburn (burning sensation in the chest and throat)

  • Regurgitation (feeling of undigested food or liquids moving up and down in throat)

  • Difficulty in consuming food

  • Indigestion

  • Bloating of the stomach

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Pain in the upper abdomen

  • Sour taste in the mouth

  • Chronic dry cough

Some Healthy Foods for Healthy Digestive Tract

Foods
Their role in digestion
Banana
Neutralises the excess secretion of gastric juices and promotes digestion.
Beets
Contain dense fibre that makes regular bowel movements and prevents digestive problems.
Apple
It has pectin fibre that improves metabolism.
Yoghurt
Yoghurt is a fermented milk product and consists of gut-friendly bacteria considered as probiotics. It improves the digestion of foods and maintains a healthy gut.
Leafy greens
They remove harmful bacteria and maintain healthy digestion.
Papaya
It contains digestive enzymes papain to help hydrolysis of proteins into amino acids. It is a gut-friendly fruit and it can ease the digestive process.
Asparagus
It also contains prebiotics that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria. The fibre content in asparagus is also useful for digestion.
Ginger
It contains a laxative agent that stimulates bowel movements and it helps the muscle contractions in the stomach. It is effectively involved in food digestion.
Turmeric
It is an antioxidant and has the property of anti-inflammation that can help digestion.
Lentils
These have rich fibres that promote bowel movements and encourage a healthy digestive system.

Conclusion

The digestive system is significant for all human beings. It digests food and supports the metabolism by providing nutrients and energy to the body for cell growth, cell regeneration, and other purposes. The intake of unhealthy foods, alcohol, and prolonged medications can cause acidity and other digestive disorders. These disorders are usually characterized by heartburn, nausea, sour taste, vomiting, gas and bloating, abdominal pain, and difficulty in food intake. The digestive disorders can be prevented by the consumption of a healthy diet and lifestyle changes.

FAQs

1. How does food break down?

The ingested food is moved to the gastrointestinal tract, then mixed with gastric juices and broken down into smaller compounds with the help of enzymes and mechanical activity of the digestive tract.

2. What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are either consumed through food or are applied to the body in order to obtain health benefits.

3. Why is the intake of a gut-friendly diet important?

It is important to consume a gut-friendly diet because it supports the digestion and absorption of nutrients to get a healthy digestive system.

4. What are the health risks associated with GERD?

GERD can lead to fatal health conditions if not treated. One of these complications is Esophagitis, i.e. the inflammation of the oesophagus.

5. Can acidity cause cancer?

A long-term acidity can cause scarring of the lining of the intestinal tract that may lead to bleeding and cancer.

References

  • 7 Common Digestive Problems You May Have. Mount Elizabeth Hospital. (2022). Retrieved 18 May 2022, from https://www.mountelizabeth.com.sg

  • Acidity - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Complications. Medindia. (2022). Retrieved 18 May 2022, from https://www.medindia.net

  • Sensoy, I. (2021). A review of the food digestion in the digestive tract and the used in vitro models. Current Research In Food Science, 4, 308-319. https://doi.org

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raja
Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47

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