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).
Achalasia is mainly associated with abnormalities of esophageal peristalsis (usually complete absence of peristalsis) which is usually the coordinated muscular activity of the body of the esophagus (which mainly comprises 90% of the esophagus) which plays a major role in transportation of food from the throat to the stomach.
Disease statistics: Achalasia is an uncommon swallowing disorder that affects about 1 in every 100,000 people. Disease affects mostly adults between ages 30s and 50s, achalasia is only diagnosed in some 2,000 people in the U.S. each year. It occurs equally in males and females. It is typically diagnosed in adults, but can occur in children as well.