11:50 AM

How Does Scleroderma Affect the Esophagus? The Red Flags to Be Aware Of

CreakyJoints reports on the causes, symptoms, treatment and management of esophageal scleroderma, according to experts, including HSS rheumatologist Robert F. Spiera, MD.

“Esophageal involvement in scleroderma is incredibly common, but some of that depends on how it is defined and how aggressively it is searched for,” explained Dr. Spiera. “About half of patients with scleroderma have GERD [gastroesophageal reflux disease] or dysphagia (difficulty swallowing),” he added.

Treating GERD and other GI issues begin with lifestyle changes, such as eating smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day. “Since your motility is diminished, it is hard for the GI tract to handle a larger volume load,” noted Dr. Spiera. “You don’t, however, want to restrict total calorie consumption.” Dr. Spiera also advised not to eat within a few hours of bedtime. “Since gastric emptying can be delayed, eating earlier can be helpful as more of the food can move down the GI tract and enter the small intestine or beyond by the time you go to bed,” he said. Elevating the head of your bed a few inches can also help. “This helps use gravity to assist food moving along the GI tract, in particular the esophagus,” cited Dr. Spiera.

Read the article at Creakyjoints.org.