Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Heartburn, the primary symptom of GERD, is a fairly consistent problem for about 15% of the global population. An occasional bout of heartburn is generally nothing to worry about, but if heartburn occurs two or more times per week, a more serious medical condition, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), may be the problem.
Data on the impact of this debilitating disease indicates that it often is not treated optimally. The result is that many people, from adolescents to senior citizens, continue to suffer pain and other symptoms so severe that the quality of their lives is significantly impaired.
They run the risk of even more serious medical complications. This is unfortunate because GERD is generally a treatable disease.
GERD is a chronic disease. Treatment usually must be maintained on a long-term basis, even after symptoms have been brought under control. Issues of daily living, and compliance with long-term use of medication need to be addressed as well. This can be accomplished through follow-up, support, and education.
Various methods to effectively treat GERD range from lifestyle measures to the use of medication or surgical procedures. It is essential for individuals who suffer persistent heartburn or other chronic and recurrent symptoms of GERD to seek an accurate diagnosis, to work with their physician, and to receive the most effective treatment available.
Locke GR. "The epidemiology of functional gastrointestinal disorders in North America." Gastroenterol Clin North Am 1996;25(1):1-19.