HYDERABAD: Courtesy miserable lifestyle, scores of denizens are falling prey to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux. A recent study conducted on patients registered with gastroenterology department at Gandhi Hospital over a span of six months found that the prevalence of acid reflux disease to be five per cent. An earlier study conducted by a task force of Indian Society of Gastroenterology across six cities in the country found that the prevalence to be 7.6 per cent.
However, gastroenterologist in Hyderabad say that there has been a steep rise in acid reflux cases in the city, especially among younger age group. In the Gandhi Hospital study, 70 per cent of the patients were aged below 50. The antacid market in India was pegged at `1,180 crore by the Nielsen Retail Index.
Dr Bhavani Raju, consultant gastroenterologist in the city, says, “Acid reflux is becoming a lifestyle disease. Improper food timing, consumption of high fat and oily food and eating high quantity of food at one go are some of the main reasons. Eating high fat food like food having lot of cheese or roadside food having excess amounts of oil is a serious concern.
The fat gets deposited on esophageal sphincter, loosening or relaxing it and resulting in acid in stomach and getting into the esophagus.” Apart from these reasons mentioned above, smoking and drinking also cause acid reflux.
He further said, “I get complain of symptoms related to acid reflux, mainly of heart burn. While medications exist to cure the problem without change in lifestyle, it is difficult to cure the disease.”
Dr Rupa Banerjee, senior consultant gastroenterologist, says, “Around 7-10 pc of the people suffer from acid reflux on a daily basis, about 22 per cent experience it once in a month and about 50 per cent suffer at least once in a year. Improper lifestyle, obesity and H.pylori (bacteria) infections are the main causes. Increasing consumption of alcohol is also an important reason behind hike in Acid Reflux cases.”
She further said, “One can buy antacids from pharmacies if occurrence of the problem is rare but if symptoms persist one should definitely visit the doctor. If not diagnosed at right time, it might even lead to ulcer and narrowing of the food pipe. However, consumption of right food at right time along with regular exercise are very important.”
‘Prevalence of GERD higher in males’
The prevalence of GERD in males was found to be higher in the Gandhi Hospital study at 58.46 pc. Among dietary habits which are related to Acid Reflux it was found that the prevalence of alcoholism was 36.93 pc, smoking 42.31 pc, tea consumption twice daily 47.69 pc and meat consumption at 72.31 pc, in the study.