Understanding Columnar-Lined Esophagus
Located at the lower end of your esophagus is a strong muscular ring that is known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Your lower esophageal sphincter should always stay tightly closed, except for the time in which it permits food or liquid to enter your stomach.
Heartburn is a condition that takes place when your lower esophageal sphincter opens at the wrong time. Heartburn is that burning sensation that you experience in back of your breastbone and sometimes in your neck or throat.
The majority of people have difficulty with heartburn at one time or another. However, when heartburn develops on a recurring basis or is severe over a long period of time, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If GERD is not treated properly, it may result in a disorder that is referred to as columnar-lined esophagus.
What is the Columnar-lined esophagus disorder?
Columnar-lined esophagus is a disorder in which both the color and composition of the tissue (cells) that line your esophagus are changed into tissue that is similar to the lining of your intestine. This is a process that is known as metaplasia.
Columnar-lined esophagus was first described by Norman Barrett in 1957. This disorder is also referred to as Barrett's esophagus.
About 1% of the adult population of the United States is afflicted with columnar-lined esophagus. The average age at the time the disorder is diagnosed is 50.
Men are three times as likely as women are to acquire this disorder. Caucasian men develop columnar-lined esophagus more often than men of other races do. Columnar-lined esophagus is rare in children.
Somewhere around 10% of the people who are afflicted with gastroesophageal reflux disease will have columnar-lined esophagus. This disorder is believed to be a premalignant condition. The reason for this is due to the fact that columnar-lined esophagus is associated with an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Columnar-lined esophagus is usually caused by the lining of your esophagus being exposed over and over again to stomach acid. However, the specific cause of this disorder has not yet been determined.
A large number of the people who have columnar-lined esophagus have also had gastroesophageal reflux disease for a considerable length of time, but some people with columnar-lined esophagus have never even had heartburn or acid reflux. In these cases the cause of the disorder is not apparent.
Possible Risk Factors of Columnar-lined esophagus
There are some risk factors that may increase your risk of developing columnar-lined esophagus. Some of these are:
- Being a male
- Having a problem with chronic heartburn and acid reflux
- Being a Caucasian
- Being over the age of 50.
Signs you might have Columnar-lined esophagus
The signs and symptoms that you may experience with columnar-lined esophagus are usually in association with acid reflux. Some of the possible signs and symptoms that you may have include:
- A difficult time in swallowing the food that you eat
- Heartburn that takes place frequently
- Black, tarry stools
- Chest pain
- Vomiting up blood
- The reflux of stomach acid back into your mouth.
Need Help with a Columnar-Lined Esophagus Disability Claim?
Complete the short form and a Disability Advocate will review your case for FREE. It's 100% Confidential and there's No Obligation. What do you have to lose? Get help winning your disability case today!