Study: An observational, cross-sectional, epidemiology study of the characteristics of GERD in a large northeast urban population was performed using a self-responding 84-question survey. Four-hundred and ten surveys were completed from a population sample with demographics comparable to those of the 1990 US Census data.
Results: No differences in heartburn frequency (monthly) were found between white or black, male or female respondents. Heartburn was significantly (P = 0.01) less common in those over age 60 (36.9%) than in young (47.7%) or middle-age (57.3%) respondents. Impact of heartburn on social activities was less (P = 0.002) in the over 60 group (4.9%) compared with the young (19.3%) or middle-age (20.0%) groups. Although 49.8% of respondents were familiar to the term GERD, few were aware that swallowing difficulty (17.3%), asthma (9.3%) or hoarseness (11.5%) were possible symptoms and similar numbers considered stroke (33.2%) and cancer (31.7%) to be complications of GERD.
Conclusions: Frequency of GERD symptoms in the United States is unaffected by gender or race but is lower in the elderly.