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ASGE encourages patients to see a physician if they experience symptoms suggestive of GERD
Date:1/25/2008

OAK BROOK, Ill. January 25, 2008 A recent study from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that hospitalizations for disorders caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD rose 103 percent between 1998 and 2005. Also, hospitalizations for patients who had milder forms of GERD (in addition to the condition for which they were admitted), rose by 216 percent during the same time period. The numbers underscore the importance of seeing a physician if symptoms suggestive of GERD are present.

Gastroesophageal reflux is a normal physiologic event, which occurs in all individuals. When this occurs frequently, however, and an individual develops recurrent symptoms and/or complications, then this is considered gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is estimated that GERD affects up to 30 million people in the U.S., with 10 percent of those individuals experiencing symptoms on a daily basis.

If you suspect you or a loved one may have GERD, the first step is to consult your healthcare provider or a gastrointestinal specialist to obtain an accurate diagnosis, said Grace H. Elta, MD, FASGE, president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). GERD is very common. Classic symptoms include heartburn and regurgitation. Work in partnership with your physician to initiate the best available treatment plan and avoid emergency trips to the hospital.

The study suggests that one of the factors leading to the increase in GERD hospitalizations may be the obesity epidemic, since obesity has been linked to GERD. The study also notes that across age groups, the elderly accounted for roughly 30 percent of hospitalizations with a primary GERD diagnosis, and 50 percent of all GERD diagnoses in both 1998 and 2005. The largest increase in discharges with any primary or secondary GERD diagnosis between 1998 and 2005 was for patients age 18 to 34, increasing at a rate of 273 percent. This age group, however, also had the
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Contact: Anne Brownsey
abrownsey@asge.org
630-570-5635
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Source:Eurekalert

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