The digestive system, like all other body organs, is susceptible to various diseases too. Depending on what you eat and how you eat it and when you eat, your dietary habits do determine what diseases affect your digestive system.
Digestion starts in the mouth. With the aid of saliva, the teeth break down the food into smaller portions. As the saliva moistens the food, it digests starch into maltose. After digestion in the mouth, the food is rolled into little balls and pushed down the throat through a process called peristalsis, into the stomach.
In the stomach, the food is mixed with gastric juice. Together with the hydrochloric acid, these digestive juices further breakdown the food into absorb able substance. After about three or four hours of digestion, the absorbable substances leave the stomach for the duodenum.
In the duodenum, the rest of the substances that had not been digested or fully digested in the stomach are then further converted into absorbable elements. After the duodenum, the digested substances leave for the intestines where absorption does take place.
Nearly all the digested food is absorbed in the small intestines. With substances such as mineral salts, water, cellulose and vegetable fiber which are not absorbed here, they are passed on to the large intestines where they are absorbed into the blood. What is not absorbed is then passed out of the body through the anus.
There are many diseases and health conditions that affect the digestive system.
Many of these diseases are lifestyle related illnesses, and thus are common among people. They include indigestion, gastritis, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, colitis, flatulence and Crohn’s disease. Here is a brief description of these diseases, their causes and their symptoms.
Mouth sores. These are painful ulcerations that are white and red. These are cold sores that can be caused by allergic reactions, deficiencies, a weak immune system or a viral infection.
Bad breath. Have you met a person with a foul smell from the mouth? This condition is known as halitosis and it is caused by poor digestive, constipation, oral hygiene, alcohol and other substance consumption.
Dental carries and gingivitis. This is the inflammation of the gums and the teeth. Both are caused by oral bacteria and sugar intake. Gingivitis leads to periodontitis, which is the loss of teeth.
Indigestion. This is painful digestion characterized by flatulence, discomfort and acidity. Medical studies illustrate that it can be an early symptom of a serious illness such as ulcers. Its causes are usually organic, a result of unhealthy diets that compromise the digestive process.
Gastritis. This is the inflammation of the gastric mucus. It is caused by reaction of the mucus linings to certain types of foods and fluids, consumption of alcohol and other substances such as drugs and tobacco.
Flatulence. This is where you have excess intestinal gas. This is usually as a result of its production by intestinal bacteria.
Ulcers. This is the inflammation of the stomachs linings. This condition can be fatal if not treated and effectively managed. It is caused by excess stomach acid and is aggravated by intake of spices, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, drugs and stress.
Constipation. This is a condition where food does travel too slowly in the intestines. It does produce toxins which are then absorbed into the blood resulting into autointoxication of the body. It can be caused by substances such as drugs, alcohol and lack of adequate physical activity.
Diarrhoea. This is where the food does travel too fast in the intestines. This condition renders absorption inadequate since the mineral salts and water are not absorbed into the blood stream.
Ulcerative colitis. This is the inflammation of the colon. It is characterized by loose faeces which sometimes can be accompanied by blood. It is caused by an allergic reaction to certain foods and medication such as antibiotics.
Crohn’s disease. This is the inflammation of both the small and large intestines. Those who are highly at risk of this disease are those who are regular consumers of junk and fast foods.
It is a natural instinct in animals to eat, at least per day. Eating is essential anyway, we need food for survival. To benefit from the food you eat, the body has to digest and then absorb the nutrients into your blood and to all your cells. Do you eat to live or do you live to eat? You must be familiar too with the phrase “you are what you eat”.
Take a look at all the causes of these diseases. It is common that, the dietary choices you make influence a lot on the development of these diseases. To avoid these digestive system illnesses, give your digestive system time to rest. Eating even if you are not hungry or just because it is the hour of serving, only overwhelms your digestive system.