Helicobacter pylori Antibody
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a spiral-shaped bacterium that is found in the gastric mucous layer or adherent to the epithelial lining of the stomach. H. pylori causes more than 90% of duodenal ulcers and up to 80% of gastric ulcers. Before 1982, when this bacterium was discovered, spicy food, acid, stress, and lifestyle were considered the major causes of ulcers. The majority of patients were given long-term medications, such as H2 blockers, and more recently, proton pump inhibitors, without a chance for permanent cure. These medications relieve ulcer-related symptoms, heal gastric mucosal inflammation, and may heal the ulcer, but they do NOT treat the infection. When acid suppression is removed, the majority of ulcers, particularly those caused by H. pylori, recur. Since we now know that most ulcers are caused by H. pylori, appropriate antibiotic regimens can successfully eradicate the infection in most patients, with complete resolution of mucosal inflammation and a minimal chance for recurrence of ulcers.
Approximately two-thirds of the world’s population is infected with H. pylori. In the United States, H. pylori is more prevalent among older adults, African Americans, Hispanics, and lower socioeconomic groups.
Most persons who are infected with H. pylori never suffer any symptoms related to the infection; however, H. pylori causes chronic active, chronic persistent, and atrophic gastritis in adults and children. Infection with H. pylori also causes duodenal and gastric ulcers. Infected persons have a 2- to 6-fold increased risk of developing gastric cancer and mucosal-associated-lymphoid-type (MALT) lymphoma compared with their uninfected counterparts.
If found, H. pylori can be eliminated with a combination of antibiotics and prescription antacids.