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Achalasia

Achalasia /eɪkəˈleɪziə/, also known as esophageal achalasia, achalasia cardiae, cardiospasm, and esophageal aperistalsis, is an esophageal motility disorder involving the smooth muscle layer of the esophagus and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). It is characterized by incomplete LES relaxation, increased LES tone, and lack of peristalsis of the esophagus (inability of smooth muscle to move food down the esophagus) in the absence of other explanations like cancer or fibrosis.

Source: Wikipedia

What are the symptoms?

Within all the people who go to their doctor with achalasia, 80% report having sharp chest pain, 71% report having difficulty in swallowing, and 31% report having regurgitation. The symptoms that are highly suggestive of achalasia are difficulty in swallowing, regurgitation, hurts to breath, throat feels tight, and lump in throat, although you may still have achalasia without those symptoms.


What might my doctor prescribe?

Common Tests and Procedures

Patients with achalasia often receive radiographic imaging procedure, plain x-ray, hematologic tests, complete blood count, electrocardiogram, kidney function tests, cardiac enzymes measurement and electrolytes panel .

Common Medications

The most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with achalasia include famotidine, midazolam (versed), aluminum hydroxide / magnesium hydroxide, dicyclomine, calcium carbonate, barium sulfate, atropine / hyoscyamine / phenobarbital / scopolamine, tolterodine (detrol), niacin, glycerin topical, teriparatide (forteo), bismuth subsalicylate (pepto-bismol) and cetirizine / pseudoephedrine .

Who is at risk?

Groups of people at highest risk for achalasia include age 75+ years age 60-74 years. On the other hand, age 1-4 years and age < 1 years almost never get achalasia.

Age

< 1 years
0.0x
1-4 years
0.0x
5-14 years
0.2x
15-29 years
0.5x
30-44 years
1.3x
45-59 years
1.0x
60-74 years
2.0x
75+ years
1.6x

Sex

Male
0.7x
Female
1.2x

Race/Ethnicity

Black
0.9x
Hispanic
0.4x
White
1.3x
Other
0.3x
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