Those of you, who think that you are just suffering from gastritis, think again.
Gastritis should not be neglected in its initial stage as it can turn into a life threatening disease, say gastroenterologists. Gastritis, in simple term, means inflammation of the stomach. According to Dr. Rajeev Shandil, DNB registrar, gastroenterology of Apollo hospital, gastritis if left untreated may lead to gastric ulcers and stomach bleeding. Some forms of chronic gastritis may also increase the risk of stomach cancer, he adds.
The most common cause of gastritis, a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is found in almost 90 percent of the world’s population. So if you are not careful about your food habits and timings, chances are that you might suffer from gastritis.
Patients having gastritis that has developed to the stage of gastric ulcers can suffer from burning pain in the epi-gastritis region (upper abdomen), heart burn, belching or bloating and nausea. If active bleeding is present, the person might also vomit blood and see blood in stools.
So,what causes gastritis? The most common causes include alcohol consumption; use of certain painkillers, stress and of course unhealthy food habits. Surgery, burns, trauma and other serious medical problems also increases the chances of developing gastritis. Any way out? Yes, patients should take proper consultation of a doctor and make the necessary life style changes. People suffering from chronic diseases like liver and kidney disease and patients who are on medication have higher chances of suffering from gastritis. Dr Ujjwal Pradhan, a resident doctor of Apollo says that patients suffering from gastritis should eat healthy and drink lots of water. “Spicy food is not a direct cause of gastritis but it adds on to the complications,” he adds. Also, patients need to take lesser amount of tea, coffee or anything with caffeine in it.
Tshering, 25, who works in a non-government organization (NGO) in Gurgaon, regrets not listening to her doctor’s advice when she had minor gastritis three years ago. She is now suffering from chronic gastritis. “The pain is unbearable sometimes and I am always cautious,” she says.
How worse can it get? Gastritis can become dangerous when not treated on time. Patients don’t die from gastritis as such but gastritis complications can become fatal if left untreated.
So, learn to handle stress, eat healthy and live life without gastritis!