The term heart comes from kardía, a Greek word that can be translated as "stomach" . The concept is used to name the opening that, in terrestrial vertebrate animals, allows establishing a communication between esophagus and the stomach .
The heart, which can be called gastroesophageal junction It is located in the sector where the stratified squamous epithelium of the esophagus meets the cylindrical epithelium that is part of the digestive tract. It is generally considered that the heart belongs to the stomach, although this issue is usually debated by specialists. The notion also overlaps with others structures , a peculiarity that can lead to confusion.
The functioning of the heart, which develops unconsciously, prevents reflux of the food a person eats. That's why heart disorders can generate gastric reflux . When a Cancer In the heart, for example, the subject cannot eat solid foods.
The cardias has smooth muscle fibers, which also make up the lower esophageal sphincter. The coordinated relaxation of these fibers allows swallowing , while the contraction avoids the aforementioned reflux. If the heart does not close properly and allows reflux, it is often referred to as incompetent cardias .
Incompetent cardias do not allow closing adequate of the lower esophageal sphincter, and to counteract this disorder there are several tips. On the one hand it is necessary to improve the eating behavior, respecting the schedules, avoiding that the meals are too spaced and reducing the portions, in addition to controlling the level of fat we eat.
There are certain foods that can accentuate the decrease in tone of the sphincter, among which are coffee and chocolate, two favorites of millions of people and very difficult to leave, especially in times of low temperature or stress. Losing weight can also have a positive impact on the fight against incompetent heart disease, since intra-abdominal pressure decreases and this facilitates the closure of the sphincter.
One of the most used drugs in these cases is the omeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor that serves to decrease the secretion stomach acid, precisely the one that can cause the most damage when reflux occurs to the esophagus. For young patients, since incompetent heart disease can have a negative impact on their quality of life, surgical or endoscopic anti-reflux treatments are usually applied.
Yes one disease it requires the removal of the cardias, a surgical intervention is carried out that is part of the set of gastrectomies : the operations that involve removing, totally or partially, some stomach structure. It should be noted that the cardias can be replaced by an artificial organ.
One of the diseases associated with heart disease is the achalasia , which is defined as the impossibility of relaxing the fibers of the apparatus Gastrointestinal throughout the entire structure. Talk about esophageal achalasia when the gastroesophageal sphincter is unable to relax during swallowing because the ganglion cells in the wall have degenerated. In addition, the peristaltic activity (normal contraction and relaxation movements) of the thoracic esophagus also decreases and dilates to produce what is known as megaesophagus.
Among the most obvious symptoms of achalasia are the following: intermittent pain in the retrosternal area, which gradually becomes more frequent; food binding once swallowed; regurgitation, abnormal weight loss and chest pain that can give the idea of esophageal cancer; reflux constants that can lead to a dehydration box. In part, these problems derive from the pressure suffered by the heart and esophagus.