Aim: To investigate the prevalence and risk factors of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms in Qashqai migrating nomads with a different life style in Fars province, southern Iran.
Methods: In summer 2006, 748 Qashqai migrating nomads aged 25 years or more were enrolled using a multiple-stage stratified cluster random sampling method. A questionnaire consisting of demographic characteristics, lifestyle and GERD symptoms (heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, dysphagia, hoarseness and cough) as completed for each subject.
Results: The questionnaire was completed in 717 subjects. The prevalence rate of GERD, defined as reflux occurring at least one time per week in the preceding year, was 33% (237 subjects). The prevalence was higher in older individuals (36.0% vs 28.9%, P < 0.05) and in those with other gastrointestinal complaints (51.0% vs 27.8%, P < 0.001), but not different in obese and non-obese subjects. It was also higher in those consuming fruits and vegetables more than once a week (36.2% vs 17.3%, P < 0.001). GERD had a positive correlation with smoking (42.1% vs 27.8%, P < 0.001), but a negative relation with non-alcoholic beverages. The association between GERD and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) consumption was also significant (40.2% vs 25.4%, P < 0.001).
Conclusion: The prevalence of GERD (33%) is very high in Qashqai migrating nomads which may be due to a lower socioeconomic and educational level of these people and difference in the life style. Older age, frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, smoking and NSAIDs are risk factors for GERD in this population.