Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease in Asia
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- Cheung, T.K., Wong, B.C.Y. & Lam, S.K. Drugs (2008) 68: 399. doi:10.2165/00003495-200868040-00001
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Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is one of the most common gastrointestinal diseases in the Western world and imposes a heavy burden on society. Although its prevalence in Asia is much lower, there is evidence that this is rapidly rising in Asia. The reported population prevalence of GORD in Eastern Asia ranges from 2.5% to 6.7% for at least weekly symptoms of heartburn and/or acid regurgitation. In general, Asians tend to have a milder spectrum of the disease. Most Asian patients have non-erosive GORD; erosive oesophagitis is less commonly seen than in the Western population. Complicated GORD, such as oesophageal stricture and Barrett’s oesophagus, is seldom encountered. The mechanisms of GORD may be different in the Chinese population compared with the Western population. Chest pain is the most predominant extra-oesophageal manifestation of GORD in China, whereas an association with asthma has been shown in Japanese patients. The prevalence of GORD appears to be increasing and possible factors for GORD in Asian populations include Helicobacter pylori infection, obesity and increasing dietary fat intake. The adoption of a Western lifestyle in many developing Asian countries may account for the increasing prevalence of GORD. Proton pump inhibitors remain the most effective medical treatment for GORD. GORD will undoubtedly be a great challenge to clinicians both in primary care and in gastroenterology practice in the Asia-Pacific region in the coming years.