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Ulcer Facts

by Mark Lamendola

Peptic ulcers, which are in the stomach and the duodenum (the first part of the intestine leading from the stomach), can occur at any age. They affect both men and women. Untreated, sufferers can look forward to a long siege with them.

But today's peptic ulcer sufferers have a brighter prospect for relief than did those of even a single generation ago. There is now less than 1 chance in 18 that surgery will ever be necessary. New medications act faster and better and offer more relief than ever before.

The warning sign of active ulcers you will most likely experience (if you get any warning at all) is a gnawing discomfort in the middle or upper abdomen, typically comes between meals or in the middle of the night. Food or liquids, including antacids and milk, can provide some temporary relief. Milk might not be good a remedy, since it stimulates production of hydrochloric acid and other digestive juices.

Antacids blended from aluminum, calcium or magnesium salts, have long been the non prescription drugs most people quickly reach for to get relief from their stomach pains. The biggest problem with this approach is you let the problem continue to fester, instead of taking the appropriate action to get rid of it.

You should never ignore any warning signs of ulcers, or take antacids as a substitute for proper care. Ulcer complications are serious and in some cases lethal.

The passing of blood through the bowels may be caused by some other problem, but it can also be an urgent warning of a bleeding ulcer. Bleeding ulcers can cause anemia or, if the ulcer gets larger it may expand into a major blood vessel. A leak can turn into a hemorrhage, with only minutes available for life saving emergency treatment.

Ulcers can also perforate or erode completely through the wall of the stomach or duodenum. If this happens and the stomach's contents flow into the abdominal cavity, severe infection can result. A perforated ulcer is an emergency that requires immediate surgery.

Smoking doubles a person's risk for ulcer disease. Physicians and researches have found that ulcers heal a lot slower for smokers, and smokers also have a higher relapse rate. Smoking is just plain deadly, no matter how you cut it. Maybe you can accept a doubled risk for ulcers.

More ulcer facts, below....

You still become a poster child for risk of heart disease, bone cancer, arthritis, pancreatic problems, back problems, sexual organ dysfunction, eye disease, gum disease, and premature baldness. Just to name a few. This long list of diseases comes about because of three factors.

  • First, smoking is like injecting yourself (and those around you) with a concoction of over 500 chemicals known to cause cell mutation.
  • Second, the carbon monoxide from smoking displaces oxygen and causes cells to die--brain cells among them.
  • Third, tobacco is vaso-constrictive, which means it causes blood vessels to shrink, and thus deliver fewer nutrients to such places as hair follicles, joints of the spine, your heart, and sexual organs. Combine this third factor with the other two, and you can see how seriously damaging smoking is. Bear in mind, no cigarette has the ability to differentiate who is smoking it directly from the butt end and who is smoking it from the lit end. The smoke from either end has all the same toxins. If you care about your children, don't smoke around them.

You're definitely at risk for ulcers if you take aspirin and any of the other products containing aspirin. High-dose Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Maproxen and Piroxicam are in wide use today for many conditions, especially to relive pain and swelling among the millions of people who have arthritis. These medications can irritate the stomach's lining and cause gastrointestinal bleeding.

Many bodybuilders use aspirin to gain an edge, and they seem to get good results. However, other body builders do just fine without this crutch. Don't get on an aspirin kick. If you take aspirin for more than a single day, you are either masking an existing problem or creating a new one. Fix the existing problem by seeking proper care. Aspirin does not cure anything.

Ulcers have frequently been the target for humor in describing the stereotypical aggressive, pressured, goal-or-career-oriented person. While this behavior may aggravate an existing ulcer, it doesn't cause an ulcer. A bacterium (helicobacter pylori) causes ulcers, and you aren't going to get rid of an ulcer without medical treatment to kill all the ulcer-causing bacteria. What you can do is lower your risk of allowing the bacteria to flourish in the first place.

We covered the risk factors earlier. If you suspect you have an ulcer, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. If you are the kind of person who considers a trip to the doctor a waste unless you find something wrong or get a normally scheduled test done, then do this. When you make your appt., ask if you can schedule one other routine test, such as a blood sugar count or cholesterol test. Such tests won't take added time from your doctor's schedule, and will help establish a baseline or reveal problems you didn't know about.

 

 

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