Hello, readers in the blogosphere! Whether you have just stumbled on this or were directed here by a friend, relative, colleague, or healthcare provider, thanks for stopping by. I hope that you will tune in frequently and learn something.
Since this is my first foray into blogging, I will do what I can to make it interesting and current. I intend to update this blog regularly; right now I’m hoping that it will be at least weekly…but maybe more!
I’m going to keep this first post short and sweet, as a means of an introduction. What do I do, and why would you want to read this blog? I am an academic gastroenterologist who specializes in esophageal diseases. When I told my father that I was an esophageal specialist, he said what most people might say…What kind of problems could POSSIBLY happen to the esophagus??? If he only knew…
So what COULD happen to the esophagus? It seems like a pretty simple organ…just the “swallowing tube,” as many people know it. It carries food from the throat to the stomach. Not really that tough to do. You can live without it, sort of like the gallbladder or the appendix, but most people wouldn’t want their esophagus taken out. It’s been said that the reason the esophagus was put in the back of the chest was to keep it away from the surgeons. Since it carries food to the stomach, one of the major symptoms that people experience if they have a problem with their esophagus is difficulty with swallowing (dysphagia). This could occur because of a blockage, potentially from a scar (stricture) or a tumor. If liquids feel like they stick in the chest, then it is likely that the muscles of the esophagus aren’t working properly.
The other principal symptom that people have is heartburn…We are going to talk a lot about heartburn in this blog I’m sure. You’re also going to hear what the difference is between “heartburn” and “reflux” (or acid reflux/GERD). But that’s a topic for another post. For now, let’s just leave it at this: Heartburn is a symptom; GERD is a disease.
In the meantime, you will hear a lot about the problems I’ve just mentioned above. But I’m also a doctor, an internist, a gastroenterologist, a researcher, and an educator (whew…is that all?? Nope, I’m also a dad), so there’s a pretty good shot that we’ll be talking about other issues too. Feel free to peruse, read, and leave your comments. As I venture more into this blog and learn more about the capabilities of WordPress and the blogosphere, I hope that the blog will become more and more advanced, and you’ll keep coming back.