, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 518-534

Epidemiology and clinical characteristics of GERD in the Japanese population


We reviewed articles on the epidemiology and clinical characteristics of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in Japan to clarify these features of GERD in this country. Although the definition of GERD depends on the individual study, the prevalence of GERD has been increasing since the end of the 1990s. The reasons for the increase in the prevalence of GERD may be due to increases in gastric acid secretion, a decrease in the Helicobacter pylori infection rate, more attention being paid to GERD, and advances in the concept of GERD. More than half of GERD patients had non-erosive reflux disease, and the majority (87%) of erosive esophagitis was mild type, such as Los Angeles classification grade A and grade B. There were several identified risk factors, such as older age, obesity, and hiatal hernia. In particular, mild gastric atrophy and absence of H. pylori infection influence the characteristics of GERD in the Japanese population. We also discuss GERD in the elderly; asymptomatic GERD; the natural history of GERD; and associations between GERD and peptic ulcer disease and H. pylori eradication. We examined the prevalence of GERD in patients with specific diseases, and found a higher prevalence of GERD, compared with that in the general population, in patients with diabetes mellitus, those with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, and those with bronchial asthma. We provide a comprehensive review of GERD in the Japanese population and raise several clinical issues.