Summary Gastro‐oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a highly prevalent disorder in all Western countries. Interestingly, prevalence rates appear to be increasing in these countries, with a remarkable increase of GERD‐related lethal and nonlethal complications. However, these complications are rare on a global scale. This review aims to summarize the current concepts of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that need to be considered whilst caring for patients with these disorders. GERD is defined by the augmented exposure of oesophageal mucosa to acidic content, and is associated with specific symptoms or mucosal lesions. A number of factors may contribute to the manifestation of GERD. Although recent studies emphasize the role of genetic factors, there are many other risk factors that play a pivotal role in the development of GERD and GERD complications. Some nutritional factors are believed to aggravate acidic reflux either by delaying gastric emptying or diminishing the pressure of the lower oesophageal sphincters. Patients are often advised to sleep with their heads elevated, but this advice is not easy to follow and has not been proven effective with regard to long‐term outcome. Other lifestyle modifications include changes to the patient's diet, which are important but not frequently sufficient. Thus, medication is usually necessary for symptom control. Proton pump inhibitors are now mainstream treatment for the reduction of acid secretion in patients with severe manifestations and 4‐week healing rates are approaching 90%.
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2004
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