GASTRICGastric or gastritis occurs when there is a decrease in the level of protection of the lining in the stomach. It should be noted that the normal function of the stomach is to produce acid (gastric juice) which is to digest food and kill germs that enter throughout the mouth. Therefore, the level of acidity in the stomach is very high compared to other parts of the digestive tract. To protect the stomach wall itself from erosion, a mechanism has been formed (protective mechanism), where the stomach tissue itself produces a layer of fluid or mucus, which is able to be a barrier (protective layer) to acid from hitting the stomach wall. The human stomach contains a type of cell called epithelial cells and it serves to protect the stomach. These epithelial cells produce mucus and bicarbonate that line the inside of the stomach. This bicarbonate is a base that will neutralize stomach acid. The mucus produced by these epithelial cells also forms a kind of barrier on the stomach wall and protects against stomach acid. Therefore, anything that interferes with the production of this layer can cause gastritis to occur. Gastric disease occurs when there is inflammation of the lining of the stomach due to acid erosion. The phenomenon may be due to lack of mucus layer or excessive production of stomach acid due to certain factors. Gastric disease can occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or progressively (chronic gastritis). In chronic gastric disease, this inflammation occurs over a long period of time and can cause stomach cells to turn into abnormal cells or better known as “dysplasia” in the medical dictionary.
Chronic gastritis can be classified into three types based on its cause, namely:
- Type A caused by a disorder of the body’s immune system that produces antibodies to stomach cells, is called “pernicious anemia.” This type of chronic gastritis can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, iron, anemia, and cancer.
- Type B is the most common type. Chronic gastritis type B is caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori which is capable of damaging the lining of the stomach. Chronic gastritis due to H.pylori can cause stomach ulcers, intestinal ulcers and even cancer.
- Type C occurs as a result of chemical irritants such as painkillers called NSAIDs (“non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs”), or excessive alcohol intake. These substances can erode the lining of the stomach and cause bleeding in the stomach and ulcers.
The risk factors that can cause or harm this chronic gastric disease are as follows:
- Old age
- Excessive stress
- Family lineage
- Often take spicy foods
- Excessive coffee and tea intake
- Other health problems such as Crohn’s disease, HIV parasitic infections as well as parasitic infections
- Sometimes the pain becomes so severe that it rises to the left side of the chest, resembling a heart attack
- Stomach feeling full and bloated (bloated)
- Vomiting or nausea
- Always belching
- If severe, acid can rise into the esophagus (acid reflux) causing the patient to suffocate
- If the gastritis is too severe, the resulting ulcer in the stomach can cause bleeding
- Black stools (melena) result from the oxidative process of bleeding that flows through the digestive system
- The problem of iron and vitamin deficiency is caused by an imbalance of acids in the stomach that are necessary for the digestive process of food
- Lack of red blood cells (anemia) that causes lethargy and shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Feeling full even after eating a little (early satiety)
- Numbness due to vitamin B12 deficiency