Atrophic gastritis is a condition when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed for several years. If not treated, this inflammation will gradually destroy the cells in your stomach lining. So, know this condition deeper and not to overlook this disease.
What are the causes of atrophic gastritis?
This inflammation is most often caused by infection with H.pylori bacteria. These bacteria will interfere with mucus or mucus that protects the stomach lining and disrupts the acid needed to digest food.
This infection often occurs during childhood and will get worse over time if not treated.
Direct contact with dirt, vomit, or saliva from people infected with atrophic gastritis can transmit this bacteria from person to person. This infection can also occur as a result of eating food or drinking beverages contaminated with bacteria.
In addition to bacteria, in some cases this atrophic gastritis occurs due to an autoimmune condition. This is a condition when the body's antibodies that must recognize and fight infection due to bacteria, actually attack healthy stomach cells. As a result the production of stomach acid needed to digest food is disturbed due to attacks from the body's own antibody.
This type of H.pylori infection is quite common in the world, and is more common in densely populated areas.
For atrophic gastritis this is indeed quite rare. However, people who have thyroid disorders or diabetes are more likely to be at risk for this condition.
What are the symptoms and signs of atrophic gastritis?
Most people are unaware of having atrophic gastritis, because they may not have symptoms that really make them immediately want to see a doctor. This condition can occur for years because it is considered a common complaint.
When infection with H.pylori bacteria, the symptoms and signs that occur are:
- Stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- No appetite
- Unwanted weight loss occurs
- Symptoms of an ulcer
- Iron deficiency anemia
When atrophic gastritis is caused by autoimmune disease, the symptoms will be different:
- Chest pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
- Cardiac palpitations
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Nerve damage (in severe cases)
How do doctors diagnose it?
Initially the doctor will do a physical examination before carrying out the next test. The doctor will feel the stomach if there are complaints in the area. Often, the doctor also asks for a blood test for:
- See if there is a decrease in vitamin B12
- Low or not pepsinogen levels (pepsinogen is a protein produced by stomach cells)
- See the condition of the levels of the hormone gastrin, a hormone that functions to produce acid in the stomach
If the doctor suspects that his patient has an H.pylori infection, then he is asked to do a breathing test. People who have H.pylori in their bodies release carbon when breathing.
So the doctor will do a test on the person's breath with the device. If carbon is found, then there is a high probability that there will be H.pylori bacteria lodged in the stomach.
Or if needed, the doctor will do a biopsy by taking stomach cells through an endoscopic procedure.
Treatment for atrophic gastritis
The doctor will treat it by prescribing antibiotics to kill the bacteria that causes the infection. In addition, you may also be prescribed medication to reduce stomach acid production when the stomach has started to improve.
In the case of autoimmune atrophic gastritis, your doctor may prescribe injections of vitamin B12. These injections are given to prevent or alleviate complications from vitamin B12 deficiency.
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