Heartburn is one of the cardinal symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The prevalence of GERD is increasing worldwide, ranging from 2.5% to 6.6% in Eastern Asia up to 13.8% to 25.8% in North America. The reason for the increasing prevalence of GERD is not entirely clear, but it appears to be correlated with the increasing prevalence of obesity in many countries and, perhaps, to other dietary factors.
GERD is associated with a significant impact on health-related quality of life and reduction in personal and work-related productivity; it is, also, associated with a greater risk of Barrett’s esophagus, a pre-malignant condition that may progress to esophageal adenocarcinoma. Fortunately, GERD can, generally, be treated safely and effectively. However, the investigation and treatment of GERD can be costly.
What is Heartburn: A Global Perspective?
“Heartburn: A Global Perspective,” the WGO campaign for World Digestive Health Day 2015, seeks to translate research into clinical practice and facilitate communication between healthcare providers, healthcare payers and heartburn sufferers to ensure that patients receive appropriate dietary and lifestyle advice as well as appropriate investigations and treatment, relevant to their condition and circumstances. The WGO’s task will be supported by the development of educational and training materials, around the world, in collaboration with WGO Member Societies and by the concurrent development and publication of the WGO Cascades Guidelines on the Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.