Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a disorder caused by a tumor in the stomach. The tumor is also called a gastrinoma. Gastrinomas usually occur in the first part of the small intestine. Rarely, they can also arise from the pancreas, the ovaries, the stomach and the liver.
Ulcers in the upper gastrointestinal tract and increased secretion of gastric acid are the common precursors of this condition. Due to the tumor, there is an increase in the secretion of a hormone called gastrin in the stomach. This hormone is responsible for the stimulation of secretion of gastric juice in the stomach. Gastrin acts on the mucosal lining of the stomach and stimulates the cells to secrete gastric acid. There is also an increase in the number of cells secreting acid in the stomach. Due to this, there is severe damage to the gastric mucosa, which leads to the formation of ulcers in the stomach. It can also cause ulcers in the esophagus.
Causes and epidemiology of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome:
The incidence of this disorder is high in patients suffering from duodenal ulcers. It affects males more commonly than females. It usually affects people between the age of 30 and 50 years.
Symptoms of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome:
Most of the symptoms of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome are secondary to hyper-gastrinemia. Patients suffering from this condition complain of pain in the abdomen, loose motions, heartburn, weakness, nausea, vomiting and unusual weight loss. They have a burning sensation in the upper abdomen along with a sense of discomfort and gnawing pain. There can also be bleeding from the ulcers in the duodenum, causing black colored stools. The loss of blood causes anemia. Due to the ulcers, even the appetite of the patient is reduced.
Patients may also show some symptoms of malabsorption of food. Damage to the mucosal lining of the stomach causes reduced absorption and improper digestion of food. Due to this, patients also suffer from the symptoms of malnutrition.
Diagnosis of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome:
The symptoms of this disorder are difficult to distinguish from that of other disorders related to the stomach. However, some blood tests for checking the level of gastrin can help in pointing towards Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. A Secretin test of pancreatic function can also help in detecting the hypersecretion of acid in the stomach. Imaging studies can be conducted to detect and localize the tumor.
Treatment of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome:
Many people suffer from Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and Nexium is very effective for its treatment. The treatment of this condition should be aimed at reducing the secretion of acid in the stomach. Nexium is an effective drug that patients can use for controlling the disturbing symptoms and complications of this condition. The main ingredient of Nexium is Esomeprazole. It is a proton pump inhibitor. It helps by inhibiting the action of ATPase in the parietal cells situated in the mucosal lining of the stomach. Due to this, the secretion of acid in the stomach is reduced. Thus, the symptoms caused by high secretion of gastric acid can be prevented. This drug can also be used for the treatment of dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease and gastro-esophageal reflux disease. Patients should take Generic Nexium 20 mg, 2 times in a day.