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Stress Ulcer – What in the World is it?

Stress Ulcer is not caused by the “every day stress” a person undergoes in his work or family. It rather is the manifestation of peptic ulcer because of a prolonged and serious illness. Patients who experience prolonged stay in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) typically get stress ulcers. That does not essentially mean that the facilities in the ICU have caused “Stress Ulcer”. It is because a patient undergoes prolonged stay in ICU because of the seriousness of the illness and whose health is at stake. Patients who have met with accident and have lost lot of blood also get stress ulcer when they are hospitalized. Medications also play a role in getting stress ulcer.

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Prevention of Ulcer

By now we all know what causes Peptic ulcer. Let me recap for you the factors that contribute to peptic ulcer. They are,

  • Genetic – A definitive family history of having Ulcer
  • Excessive alcohol (drinking) and Smoking
  • Use of drugs not prescribed by doctors – Improper dose of antibiotics, painkillers, steroids and blood thinners (aspirin)
  • Infection of Helicobacterium Pylori is also supposed to cause Ulcers.
  • Prolonged illness can also cause stomach ulcer. This is called Stress Stomach Ulcer.
  • Overage – Risk of Ulcer increases with age. Generally it is said that people over 50 have more risk of Peptic Ulcer.

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How Smoking and Drinking Causes Stomach Ulcer

We all have a doubt if smoking and drinking alcohol have the potential to cause stomach ulcer. Yes, they both have. First and foremost, it is common knowledge that people, who smoke, consume alcohol and people who consume alcohol, do smoke. People who are exception to this rule are indeed present and our point is, even if you are habituated to any one of these, you run an increased risk of getting stomach ulcer.

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Diagnosis of Ulcer

In the last post we emphasized the need to rule out any heart related ailments if you have crossed 35 years of age and if your pain is more on the upper left side of the body closer to where your heart is. And we also added that if you have a family history of heart attack, hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes, and over and above if you also drink and smoke, then you get yourself checked for any heart related ailments first.

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Symptoms of Ulcer

Every ailment has a moderate start and peptic ulcers are no exception to the rule. 90% of the people present themselves to the doctor only after complaining of pain. The pain could either be mild / dull or intense or a rather slowly progressing pain on the upper abdomen area. Generally a feeling of a heart burn should ring alarm bells. More clearly, if there is a burning sensation or pain somewhere in between the chest and the belly button; it can be signs of ulcer. The burning sensation or pain either lasts for few minutes or can last for few hours. This sensation of course can recur.

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Ulcer – Understanding a Bit More

Ulcer not only affects the stomach lining, the upper part of the small intestine may also receive such ulcers. Ulcer may also occur in Esophagus (food pipe), rectum and other GI parts also. Ulcer to the stomach and the upper small intestine is medically referred as Peptic Ulcer.

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Understanding Ulcer

We all carry a mobile phone. Our phones often receive scratches on its screen as they undergo wear and tear. The advent of scratch guards termed “Tempered Glass Screen Protector”, was indeed a blessing to the mobile phones. There were no scratches whatsoever for the regular wear and tear. It is commonly understood that abusing this tough screen protector deliberately, would absolutely lead to damaging the phone. Now compare this.

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