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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) also known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder with a reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. This reflux causes the classic symptom of burning sensations in the upper chest and throat known as “heartburn” along with regurgitation of food or fluid into the back of the throat and mouth. Less common symptoms include a chronic cough, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing, all of which are signs of more acute GERD. GERD can present with erosive reflux disease (ERD) and non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) as defined by the presence or absence of esophageal mucosal damage observed by endoscopy.
GERD is a very common condition; according to the Gallup Organization Nation Survey, 24-40% of adults in the United States are affected by GERD. Another recent study reported that the GERD prevalence is between 18%-27% in North America, 9%-25% in Europe, 3%-8% in East Asia, 8%-33.% in the Middle East, 11.6% in Australia, and 23.0% in South America.
The economic burden of GERD is high, with estimated direct cost of $9 to $10 billion per year. In addition, GERD affects the quality of life and work productivity. GERD has been reported to be equal in males and females, but more common in overweight individuals.