GORD is a condition that develops when the reflux of stomach contents causes troublesome symptoms and/or complications. There is a significant impact on the quality of life with associated morbidity, and increased risk of developing oesophageal adenocarcinoma. The prevalence of GORD has witnessed significant increase over the last three decades, keeping in with the epidemic of weight gain acorss the world.
Being over a healthy weight plays an important role in the development of GORD. The link between excess weight and GORD is clear on all measures of the disease including clinical symptoms, erosive oesophagitis, acid oesophageal exposure, and complications such as Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma.
Patients with obesity are 3 times likely to suffer from heartburn and /0r regurgitation compared to someone with a healthy weight. Every increment in BMI of 5 kg/m2 was associated with increased hospitalization.
Increased weight circumference has been associated with significant increase in GORD symptoms even in patients with a BMI was less than 25 kg/m2. Increased waist circumference or central adiposity has been shown to be a major risk factor for complications of GORD, namely reflux oesphgaitis, Barrett’s metaplasia and oesophageal adenocarcinoma.
Initial management includes lifestyle modification, weight reduction, and acid suppressive medication. You may be able to come out of long term acid suppressive medications over time if you change your life style and achieve a healthy weight.
Weight loss is associated with improved symptoms of GORD and its complications. Reducing central weight gain ( increased waist line) will have an independent benefit and should be encouraged even when a patient is not significantly above a healthy weight.
Speak to you doctor or find out more about ways to achieve a healthy weight and have a healthy life.