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Digestive system

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The digestive system is one of the main life systems of the body that contributes to either overall wellbeing or overall inability to function. When the digestive system fails or falls ill, the rest of the body suffers dramatically.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM DISEASES

Digestive diseases come in a variety of ailments and play host to different symptoms. Constipation, diarrhea, impaction of the bowels, bowel obstruction, fevers, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, chronic indigestion, anemia, weight loss, weight gain, and fatigue can all be signs of digestive system diseases.

Some digestive diseases are triggered by allergies, especially food allergies. Celiac Sprue is triggered by a gluten allergy. Other digestive diseases are autoimmune in nature, such as Chron’s disease and Lupus. These diseases are a reflection of the body’s inability to recognize what is good and bad to the body. Digestive diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome have no known cause. It is thought that the nerves which allow the muscles of the digestive system to expand and contract get confused and either hold their contraction too long and speed up the system or hold their expansion for too long and slow down the system. Infection can cause digestive diseases such as Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease.

Digestive diseases range from temporary to permanent and mild to life threatening. Though it is rare, diarrhea can not only dehydrate, but there is a deadly form of diarrhea that becomes so out of control that the patient is unable to survive. Dehydration sets in and the body continues to excrete all fluids and solids until the patient is no longer receiving any benefit from fluids.
Digestive system
Image: Digestive system

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM DIAGNOSIS

Testing for viral related bowel disease or digestive system disease may include a throat swab or a fecal analysis to determine if the bowel disease which is present contains bacteria. Blood tests are typically used in determining which bowel disease is present as well. Celiac disease for example will shower higher levels of specific antibodies than most other bowel diseases. Endoscopic exams can often tell the physician more about what is happening in the digestive system and how to diagnose a problem. Endoscopic examinations entail a long tube which is inserted through the mouth and travels through the digestive system into the bowels, allowing a physician to witness on a monitor what is happening inside the bowels. X-rays and CT scan give a physician an image of the intestines and digestive system to detect things such as inflammation, blockages, and impaction.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy allows a physician to view the last two feet of the intestines. Barium enemas allow for clear contrast x-rays to be taken of the intestinal tract while a capsule endoscopy is a small camera inside a pill that is swallowed allowing clear images of the entire digestive system to be taken. A colonoscopy allows for both images and small tissues samples for biopsies to be taken, which makes it a more comprehensive test than others for diagnosing digestive system diseases.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM DISEASES TREATMENT

Digestive system diseases as well as treating them can lead to complications. Excessive diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Some digestive disease can lead to anemia and malnutrition since nutrients in the food are not properly absorbed. Treating some digestive diseases requires the use of steroids, which over time leads to weight gain, a compromised immune system, and other problems. Some untreated digestive system diseases can eventually lead to cancer.


Nearly all digestive system diseases require dietary changes as part of an effective treatment plan. Medications such as prednisone, corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory medications, immune system suppressants, and antibiotics are all part of treating digestive system diseases.

Following dietary plans and taking prescribed medication is vital on adhering to self care plans for digestive system diseases. Surgical procedures can often assist in correcting digestive system diseases, although sometimes only for a short period of time. Surgical procedures should be a last resort and following self care plans are vital in postponing these procedures for as long as possible.

The symptoms of digestive system diseases can make public outings very difficult, and carrying a spare pair of pants and undergarments can be embarrassing. Often counseling is necessary in order to find adequate coping skills to deal with the chronic need for the toilet and the embarrassment that may occur when dealing with a digestive system disease.
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