Barrett’s esophagus is a condition resulting from damage to the cells in the lower esophagus. The exact cause of Barrett’s esophagus is unknown at this time; however, doctors have identified a number of known risk factors for the condition.
If you’re concerned about Barrett’s disease, or if you think you may be at risk, don’t hesitate to contact La Peer’s Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence in Los Angeles for a consultation. Call (888) 548-7614 today to speak with a member of our esteemed staff and learn more about Barrett’s esophagus causes.
Risk Factors for Barrett’s Esophagus
The following factors may increase one’s risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus:
• Gender – Men are more likely than women to suffer from Barrett’s esophagus.
• Ethnicity – Compared to other ethnic groups, Caucasians have a greater risk of developing Barrett’s.
• Age – Although Barrett’s esophagus can occur at any age, the condition tends to strike people in their 50s and 60s.
• GERD – People who have suffered with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) for ten or more years may be more likely to develop Barrett’s esophagus.
Barrett’s Esophagus and GERD
People with GERD suffer from a continuous exposure of stomach acid to the lower esophagus. As the esophagus tries to repair itself, the color and composition of the cells can undergo changes. If you’re suffering from GERD, it’s important to seek treatment to prevent it from developing into a more serious condition like Barrett’s esophagus. Patients with GERD should be evaluated for Barrett’s disease.
Knowing your risk factors for Barrett’s can help you determine when to seek treatment. With state-of-the-art technology and expert physicians, the Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence can help you evaluate your risk for Barrett’s and diagnose the disease if it’s already present. We can also offer advice to help you prevent Barrett’s esophagus.
Preventing Barrett’s Esophagus
People with known risk factors for Barrett’s may want to consider taking steps to reduce their chances of developing the condition. Here are some tips for limiting your risk:
• Lose weight – Surplus weight can put stress on the abdomen, causing the stomach to push acid up into the esophagus.
• Avoid lying down after meals – Lying down can make it easier for stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. People with risk factors for Barrett’s may want to consider sleeping with a propped up posture as well.
• Take antacids – Antacids can help neutralize stomach acid and prevent it from damaging the esophagus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can anyone develop Barrett’s?
A. Yes. However, white men over the age of 50 have one of the highest risks of developing the condition.
Q: If I have GERD, do I need to be tested for Barrett’s?
A: Yes. Patients with chronic heartburn should undergo an upper endoscopy to test for Barrett’s esophagus.
Q: Does everyone with GERD go on to develop Barrett’s?
A: No! However, people with GERD should consider being tested for more serious esophageal conditions like Barrett’s disease.
Q: What are some common triggers for heartburn?
A: To prevent heartburn, you may want to avoid the following triggers: fried foods, alcohol, chocolate, garlic, onions, coffee, and cigarettes. You can also try eating smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to two to three larger ones.
Q: Can tight-fitting clothes lead to heartburn?
A: Yes. Restrictive clothing puts stress on the abdomen and may cause the stomach to expel more acid into the esophagus.
Contact La Peer’s Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence
La Peer was founded by physicians dedicated to offering premier patient care along with the most cutting edge medical treatments in the world. If you have questions about the causes of Barrett’s esophagus, or if you want to know steps you can take to reduce your risk, feel free to call our Barrett’s esophagus specialists at (888) 548-7614.
Next, learn about diagnosing Barrett’s.