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Prevalence of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptoms in a Jamaican Population



Objective: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most common conditions seen in general medical practice, which is associated with an impaired quality of life. This study determined the prevalence of GERD symptoms in a Jamaican population

Methods: Eligible individuals between the ages of 18 and 75 years were invited to complete a questionnaire, which included demographic data as well as the frequency and severity of typical GERD symptoms.

Results: The questionnaire was completed by 422 subjects with 51% males and 49% females. The prevalence of any GERD symptoms within the previous year was 71.1%. Females were more frequently affected, 75.7%, compared to 67.3% of males. Weekly symptoms were present in 18.6%. Symptoms of moderate or greater severity were reported in 11.7%. The most common and bothersome symptom experienced was heartburn. Nocturnal symptoms that awaken the affected subjects occurred in 17.8%. Gastroesophageal reflux disease was strongly associated with food, supine posture and heavy meals (p < 0.0001). There was no significant association with GERD and age or body mass index. In persons with GERD symptoms, 24.2% (p = 0.000) saw a doctor for their symptoms and 38.6% took medication for their symptoms (p < 0.0001), which included prescription medications in 42.7%, over the counter medications in 36.3% and combination of both in 15.3%.

Conclusion: Symptoms of GERD are common and significant problem in the Jamaican population studied. Heartburn was the most bothersome symptom reported. Medications were taken by over one-third of symptomatic persons.

11 Jul, 2016
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e-Published: 19 Jul, 2016
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