The esophagus is he sector of digestive tube that develops from the pharynx until the stomach. The term comes from medieval Latin esophagus, in turn derived from the Greek oisophaguses.
The esophagus is present in vertebrates and also in invertebrates. In the case of human being, measures about 25 centimeters and its extension goes from the seventh or sixth cervical vertebra to the eleventh thoracic vertebra.
This part of the digestive system is traversed by food, which enters through the mouth, go through the pharynx, they cross the esophagus and they arrive at stomach. In this process, the esophagus has an active participation, since its walls contract to promote the advance of the food.
For food to access the esophagus, the opening of the upper esophageal sphincter. Then the peristalsis (the waves of muscle contractions) that push you down until you slide through the lower esophageal sphincter and thus enter the stomach.
It is important to mention that, if the esophagus is at rest, the sphincters are kept closed to prevent Reflux of gastric acid and food from the stomach to the mouth. With the swallowingInstead, they open up. Aging causes the contractions of the esophagus and the pressure of the sphincters to lose force, with which the propensity to suffer reflux increases with age.
The esophagus cancer, the Barrett’s esophagus and the esophageal achalasia are some of the disorders and diseases that can be registered in this region of the Body. Among the symptoms that help to detect them are the dysphagia (swallowing problems) and odynophagia (pain when swallowing).
Esophageal cancer usually begins in the cells that line the inside of the esophagus and can occur in any of its regions. It should be noted that it is more common in the male population than in the female population and that it is the sixth cause of death on the list of the most common due to some type of disease. Cancer around the world. In some countries, the appearance of this disease is attributed to excessive consumption of substances such as alcohol or tobacco, obesity or poor eating habits.
In addition to the two mentioned above, some of the specific symptoms of esophageal cancer include the following:
* decrease in body weight spontaneously, without doing a weight loss regimen;
* burning, pressure, or pain in the chest;
* indigestion or heartburn in the stomach, with a severity that escalates as the days go by;
* hoarseness or cough
With respect to disease called Barrett’s esophagus, it is characterized by the presence of acid reflux, which causes significant damage to the lining of the esophagus, making it thicker and changing its color from pinkish to reddish. It all starts with the gastroesophageal reflux disease, a chemical damage that arises as a result of lower sphincter failures, and that often leads to regurgitation and heartburn. When it causes an alteration in certain cells of its lower part, Barrett’s esophagus occurs.
Achalasia occurs when the esophagus cannot carry food to the stomach normally. One more time evil functioning lower sphincter is among the causes; in this particular case, it does not relax as it should to allow food to pass through. The overall muscular activity of the esophagus may also be reduced or abolished. One of the origins of this condition is damage to the esophageal nerves, but it can also derive from cancer or a parasitic infection caused by Chagas disease.