When I prayed for success, I forgot to ask for sound sleep and good digestion. ~ Mason Cooley
Digestive diseases are disorders of the digestive tract, which is sometimes called the gastrointestinal or the GI tract. In digestion, food and drink are broken down into nutrients so that the body can absorb them and use them as energy and building blocks for cells.
In this post I want to focus on the digestive diseases that are brought on by autoimmune disorders.
Autoimmune Digestive diseases are:
- Crohn’s Disease – occurs when the immune system attacks parts of the digestive tract, causing inflammation, swelling, and even scarring.
- Ulcerative colitis – usually involves the rectum and is confined to the colon, with occasional involvement of the ileum
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – Lupus can affect the entire digestive system, beginning with the mouth.
- Polyarteritis Nodosa PAN – it has a predisposition for organs such as the skin, kidney, nerves, and gastrointestinal tract.
- Celiac disease – In people with Celiac disease, the ingestion of gluten causes the immune system to attack villi, the tiny structures lining the small intestine.
- Autoimmune Hepatitis – immune system attacks liver cells, causing inflammation.
- Diabetes – The partial paralysis of the stomach, which causes delayed gastric emptying.
Non-autoimmune Digestive Diseases are:
- Diverticulitis – is not autoimmune, it is inflammation of pouches that have formed in the large intestine
- Irritable bowel syndrome – is not an autoimmune disorder, it is a functional bowel disorder.
The parts of the digestive tract are:
- esophagus (food tube)
- large and small intestines
Let your doctor know if you have any of these symptoms:
- A feeling that food is caught in your chest or throat
- Unusual or lasting belly pain
- Discomfort that keeps you from your usual activities
- Trouble or painful swallowing
- Heartburn that causes vomiting
- Vomiting blood
- Bloody or black stools
- Unexplained major weight loss
- Hoarseness or a sore throat that doesn’t improve
- Diarrhea that doesn’t go away
- New or lasting constipation
Treatment includes a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
A gastroenterologist is a physician specialist who has received extra training in the diagnosis and treatment of the digestive disorders.