Achalasia is a primary esophageal motility disorder characterized by the absence of esophageal peristalsis and impaired relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) in response to swallowing. The LES is hypertensive in about 50% of patients. These abnormalities cause a functional obstruction at the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ).
Signs and Symptoms: The main symptoms of achalasia are dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), regurgitation of undigested food, chest pain behind the sternum, and weight loss. Dysphagia tends to become progressively worse over time and to involve both fluids and solids. The chest pain experienced, also known as cardiospasm and non-cardiac chest pain can often be mistaken for a heart attack. It can be extremely painful in some sufferers.
Statistics: The incidence of achalasia in Poland affects both in men and women equally between the ages of 30-60. It can also occur in infancy and childhood. in children is 0.2 to 2.1 in 100,000 and the prevalence rate is 5.9 to 9.6 per 100,000. Not more than 5% of patients having symptoms of achalasia are younger than 15 years of age.