Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Can Be Controlled with Healthcare Software
November 18 to 24 was selected by the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) to raise awareness about Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The event is listed on the U.S. National Health Observances calendar. The IFFGD encourages people experiencing the symptoms, which may be GERD-related, to consult their physicians.
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse Digestive Disease Statistics for the United States report, 20 percent of the U.S. population experiences reflux symptoms at least weekly.
The American Gastroenterological Association reports that more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn or GERD symptoms at least once every month.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that controls the passage of contents from the esophagus to the stomach, is altered or relaxes inadequately, allowing the contents to pass back into the esophagus, thus irritating the mucosa, causing characteristic symptomatology and complications.
The Mayo Clinic recommends the following tests to confirm a diagnosis of GERD, or to check for complications:
- Upper endoscopy. Your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube equipped with a light and camera (endoscope) down your throat, to examine the inside of your esophagus and stomach. An endoscopy can also be used to collect a sample of tissue (biopsy) to be tested for complication.
- Ambulatory acid (pH) probe test. A monitor is placed in your esophagus to identify when, and for how long, stomach acid regurgitates there. The monitor connects to a small computer that you wear around your waist or with a strap over your shoulder.
- Esophageal manometry. This test measures the rhythmic muscle contractions in your esophagus when you swallow. Esophageal manometry also measures the coordination and force exerted by the muscles of your esophagus.
- X-ray of your upper digestive system. X-rays are taken after you drink a chalky liquid that coats and fills the inside lining of your digestive tract. The coating allows your doctor to see a silhouette of your esophagus, stomach and upper intestine. You may also be asked to swallow a barium pill that can help diagnose a narrowing of the esophagus that may interfere with swallowing.
People more likely to develop GERD are pregnant women, smokers, overweight or obese individuals and those taking certain medicines. GERD is a treatable condition which, if left unaddressed, can have serious complications such as: esophagitis, respiratory problems, Barrett’s esophagus (BE) and others.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease informed that identifying those at risk for complications of GERD is imperative for proper allocation of limited endoscopic resources. Traditionally, diagnostic endoscopy has been recommended for those with persistent symptoms despite medical treatment and those with alarm symptoms.
A study published by Yuen E1, Romney M, Toner RW, Cobb NM, Katz PO, Spodik M, Goldfarb NI, found significant differences in knowledge and care-seeking patterns by ethnicity as shown above. It concludes that Hispanics are the ethnicity with the highest prevalence rate and that. Asians in the US have higher rates of symptoms than in the Far East. These data demonstrate a need for culturally appropriate education about GERD symptoms and treatment.
The results that are available about ethnic GERD complications are conflicting. For instance, the study “Prevalence of Complicated Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Barrett’s Esophagus Among Racial Groups in a Multicenter Consortium” identified the ethnic background as a possible predictor of complicated GERD.
In this case, it is believed that Caucasian individuals with reflux are at higher risk for developing complications such as esophagitis and BE, while African Americans and Asians are less vulnerable.
GERD and its associated complications are common in the older patient, however, with appropriate management, GERD and the complications resulting from it can be treated successfully in the majority of elderly patients.
Aware of the challenges that GERD presents, Conexia team of experts designed solutions that collaborate in the early detection and effective treatment of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other gastrointestinal diseases with the application of medical guides that help the insurer to propose treatments and follow-up of cases in a more effective way.
- Wong WM, Lam SK, Hui WM, et al. Long-term prospective follow-up of endoscopic oesophagitis in southern Chinese—Prevalence and spectrum of the disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2002;16:2037–2042. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2002.01373.x.. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
- Spechler SJ, Goyal RK. Barrett’s esophagus. N Engl J Med. 1986;315:362–371. [PubMed]
- Lee JI, Park H, Jung HY, Rhee PL, Song CW, Choi MG. Prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus in an urban Norean population: a multicenter study. J Gastroenterol. 2003;38:23–27. 10.1007/ s005350300002.[PubMed]
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