Esophageal achalasia is a disorder that prevents foods and liquids from entering the stomach. The rare condition affects only one out of 100,000 people yearly. While any age group can develop esophageal achalasia, it is most common in people 25 to 60. Affecting both men and women equally, except in cases that appear to be genetic (in which case men are twice as likely to be affected as women), esophageal achalasia can cause a host of undesirable symptoms.
Esophageal achalasia is a dysfunction in the esophagus, the muscular tube whose sole responsibility is to effectively carry food and drink from the throat to the stomach. In people with the condition, peristalsis, wavelike muscular contractions of the esophagus, fail to occur. Therefore, substances are not transported down the body. The lower esophageal sphincter muscle also does not relax correctly, which allows bile from the stomach to come upward, creating an obstruction at the point where the esophagus meets the stomach, the gastroesophageal junction.
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