1. What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? How common is it?

GERD has a variety of definitions.  It is probably best defined as symptoms and/or esophageal mucosal injury due to abnormal reflux of gastric juice into the esophagus.

What are the mechanical causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

An incompetent lower esophageal sphincter or a hiatal hernia are the causes of reflux.

How common is (GERD)?

The population based studies have reported that one-third of western population experience the symptoms of GERD at least once a month, with 4-7% of the population experiencing daily symptoms.  Judging from the high prevalence of heartburn in the general population, GERD is a very common condition.  Most patients with mild symptoms carry out self-medication, while those with more severe and persistent symptoms seek out medical attention.

Is the incidence of GERD increasing?

The prevalence and severity of GERD is increasing.  This is in contrast to duodenal ulcer disease and gastric ulcer disease where the prevalence is markedly decreased.