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Friday, February 8, 2008

Esophageal varices

What are Esophageal Varices?
Esophageal varices are ’varicose‘ or swollen veins in the walls of the esophagus (gullet or swallowing pipe leading to the stomach). The pressure in the veins is higher than normal.

  • They are very fragile and tend to bleed easily.

  • Esophageal varices are associated with diseases of the liver.

  • Symptoms include vomiting blood (bright red blood or blood looking like ’coffee grounds’), pale appearance, feeling faint and black stools (faeces), which usually means bleeding from the stomach or esophagus.

How do you get Esophageal Varices?
Esophageal varices are associated with certain diseases of the liver.

  • They result from the higher than normal pressure in the system of veins that arise from the region of the liver, and which are known to be affected by liver disease.

  • They are particularly seen in conditions that scar the liver, such as cirrhosis.
How serious are Esophageal Varices?
Esophageal varices can be serious because sometimes when they bleed, this may be heavy and the large loss of blood can cause major problems and be life-threatening.

How long do Esophageal Varices last?
Esophageal varices may develop over many months or several years. Once they develop, they don’t go away on their own.

How are Esophageal Varices treated?
Bleeding from varices requires urgent treatment in a hospital. Attention to the condition causing the scarring of the liver, such as cirrhosis, is important. A number of medicines might also be used to reduce the pressure of the blood in the varices, including beta-blockers.
Via: www.patienthealthinternational.com

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