Epidemiological study of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: reflux in spouse as a risk factor

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Jul;28(1):144-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03708.x. Epub 2008 Apr 11.


Background: Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a growing health-care problem with variable distribution.

Aim: To assess GERD prevalence and risk factors and their possible correlation with pathophysiology in a population-based study.

Methods: Individuals aged 18-65 years were enrolled through random cluster sampling in Tehran. Previously validated self-administered questionnaires were used.

Results: Of the 2500 questionnaires, 2057 were analysed (mean age: 34.8 +/- 13.0 years, 55.1% female). Frequent GERD was seen in 18.2%. Minor symptoms increased prevalence. Female gender (OR: 1.55, 95% CI: 1.01-2.41), BMI >30 kg/m(2) (OR: 1.79, 95% CI: 1.03-3.12), less education (OR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.02-2.27), smoking (OR: 1.83, 95% CI: 1.12-2.99), NSAID use (OR: 4.23, 95% CI: 1.66-10.74) and GERD in spouse (OR: 1.82, 95% CI: 1.18-2.82) were associated with frequent GERD on multivariable analysis. GERD in first-degree relatives (OR: 1.73, 95% CI: 1.23-2.43) and asthma (OR: 4.09, 95% CI: 1.27-13.15) correlated with infrequent GERD. Minor symptoms correlated with GERD history in first-degree relatives, coffee consumption and NSAID use. Prevalence in the past 3 months was similar to that in the past 12 months (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is common in Tehran. The association of 'infrequent symptoms' with GERD history in first-degree relatives and 'frequent symptoms' with GERD history in spouse may point to the presence of yet unknown precipitating environmental factors inducing GERD in a genetically susceptible host. Minor GERD symptoms seem to have independent contribution to GERD. Assessing GERD in the past 3 months predicts prevalence in the past year.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Iran / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Spouses*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires