Prevalence, risk factors and impact of gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms: a population-based study in South China

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jul;40(7):759-67. doi: 10.1080/00365520510015610.


Objective: There are few data on the epidemiology of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in South China. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of GERD symptoms in South China and to evaluate the impact on health-related quality of life.

Materials and methods: A face-to-face interview was carried out in South China using a validated Chinese version of the Reflux Disease Questionnaire to assess the prevalence of GERD symptoms. A randomly clustered sampling of permanent inhabitants aged 18 to 90 years was carried out under stratification of urban and suburban areas. The impact of GERD symptoms on health-related quality of life was evaluated using the Chinese version of SF-36.

Results: A total of 3338 residents (1468 M, 1870 F) were investigated. Mean age of the responders was 42.6 +/- 16.4 years; response rate was 95%. The prevalence of heartburn and/or acid eructation occurring at least weekly was 6.2%. The age- and gender-adjusted point prevalence of GERD symptoms in South China is 2.3% (95% CI, 1.8%, 2.8%) according to the definition in this study. There was no difference in prevalence between male (2.6%) and female (2.4%) subjects and there was no significant association between age and prevalence of GERD symptoms. Divorced/widowed/separated subjects (OR 4.61; 95% CI, 2.15%, 9.89%) and subjects with a heavy burden of work (OR 3.43, 95% CI, 1.72%, 6.84%) were significantly more likely to report GERD symptoms. As compared with the general population, subjects with GERD symptoms experienced considerable impairment in quality of life.

Conclusion: The prevalence of GERD symptoms in South China was much lower than that reported in Western countries. GERD had a negative impact on quality of life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • China / epidemiology
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Probability
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population