Achlorhydria: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:Absence of hydrochloric acid (HCl) from the gastric juice.Achlorhydria refers to states where the production of gastric acid in the stomach is absent or low, respectively. It is associated with various other medical problems.Causes & Risk Factors:The slowing of the body's basal metabolic rate (BMR) associated with hypothyroidism.
- Autoimmune disorders where there is antibody production against parietal cells which normally produce gastric acid.
- The use of antacids or drugs that decrease gastric acid production (such as H2-receptor antagonists) or transport (such as proton pump inhibitors).
- A symptom of rare diseases such as mucolipidosis (type IV).
- A symptom of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection which neutralizes and decreases secretion of gastric acid to aid its survival in the stomach.
- A symptom of pernicious anemia, atrophic gastritis or of stomach cancer.
- Radiation therapy involving the stomach.
- Gastric bypass procedures such a Duodenal Switch and RNY, where the largest acid producing parts of the stomach are either removed, or blinded.
- VIPomas and somatostatinomas are both islet cell tumors of the pancreas.
- Pellagra, caused by niacin deficiency.
- Achlorhydria may also be documented by measurements of extremely low serum levels of pepsinogen A (PgA) (< 17 mcg/L).
- High serum gastrin levels (>500-1000 pg/mL) may support a diagnosis of achlorhydria.
- Litmus paper is readily available to examine the pH of gastric secretions and, in contrast to the pH electrode, is less expensive while providing equally reliable results.
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