Understanding Achalasia From A Patient's Perspective
Causes and symptoms of achalasia cardia or cardiospasm
Achalasia cardia is an esophageal disease mimicking cardiac disease hence also called cardiospasm. It is a condition where there is marked dilatation of the lower two third of the esophagus without any demonstrable or detectable obstructive pathology at the cardiac end.
This is an important cause of dysphagia means difficulty in swallowing and the food is held up in the lower end of esophagus and does not pass readily into the stomach.
Causes of achalasia cardia or cardiospasm
Though thew actual cause of achalasia cardia is not known exactly, but there are some theories postulated for the aetiology of achalasia cardia of oesophagus.
* The motor nerve supplying oesophagus is vagus nerve which control the movement. It is assumed that any vagal disturbance may be a cause of achalasia cardia or cardiospasm.
* The pinch- cock action of diaphragmatic cruras may be responsible as it may lead to dilatation of lower end of esophagus.
* Aurebach,s myenteric plexus is a bunch of nerves supplying the oesophagus and degeneration of this aurebach,s plexus my lead to dilatation of esophagus causing achalasia cardia.
* Many persons having a habit of mouth breathing may suffer from achalasia thus it is assumed that air swallowing may have a role in causing cardiospasm or achalasia cardia.
* Hirschprung's disease or megacolon is a congenital gastrointestinal disease and achalaisa cardia may be due to primary dilatation like the same disease.
* Lack of integrated parasympathetic stimulation and non propulsive motility of the esophagus may lead to dilatation of the esophagus causing achalasia cardia.
These are the postulated theories for the aetiology of cardiospasm though none of the cause has been authenticated by the studies.
Features of achalasia cardia or cardiospasm
Achalasia cardia is mainly seen in young age groups. The incidence is almost equal in both male and female. It present with a symptom of increasing difficulty in swallowing and discomfort in the chest or epigastric region, thus also known as cardiospasm.
The characteristic feature of dysphagia in achalsia cardia is that there is difficulty in swallowing more to liquids than solids. There may be weight loss but that is not severe to be of much concern.
There is regurgitation of food containing undigested food taken several days back, thus may be foul smelling, regurgitation may also contain acid, which may be a cause of chest pain.
In long standing cases these reflux of undigested food of several days old may go to lung and may cause pulmonary complications, thus an early diagnosis and treatment is required.
For diagnosis and treatment of Achalasia cardia or cardiospasm refer to Diagnosis and treatment of cardiospasm.