SAN DIEGO--(refluxmd.com.)--Despite recent news articles that many heartburn sufferers can skip upper endoscopies, such a test is an important part of diagnosing and treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), according to a just-released article on
“What’s needed is more consumer awareness about heartburn, reflux and esophageal cancer”
Titled “Let’s Change the Headlines on Reflux Disease,” the article by RefluxMD’s advisory physicians is designed to educated consumers in response to guidelines issued last December by the American College of Physicians (ACP) on the use of upper endoscopy for GERD. The article is at http://www.refluxmd.com/learn/resources/2013-01-09/1094/lets-change-headlines-reflux-disease.
“Though RefluxMD agrees that ‘unnecessary’ use of endoscopy should be eliminated, it seems as if the media received the wrong impression of what those guidelines are and have been notifying the public that a more relaxed approach can be taken in taming their reflux,” said Dr. Tom DeMeester, RefluxMD Senior Medical Advisor and renowned authority on GERD.
“Our goal is to clear any confusion for those suffering from reflux, and to let patients know that heartburn and reflux can be managed so one can live a normal, healthy life.”
According to DeMeester, one headline that appeared after the ACP recommendations were issued stated, “Most Heartburn Patients Can Skip Upper Endoscopy, Guidelines Say,”
“In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth,” DeMeester said. “As noted in RefluxMD’s article, heartburn is a symptom of reflux disease. The underlying problem in reflux disease is a damaged lower esophageal sphincter, the barrier that keeps the contents in the stomach from flowing into the esophagus. The severity of symptoms typically increases over time and can lead to complications like esophagitis, narrowing of the esophagus, pre-cancerous changes and esophageal cancer. Once the barrier is damaged or weakened, the loss is permanent.”
“We believe that the headlines appearing in lay press resulting from the media interpretation of these guidelines have conveyed a dangerous message to the millions of American adults suffering from GERD. With one-third of all U.S. adults experiencing reflux disease symptoms monthly and its incidence increasing 30% every decade, we believe that this is a very distressing trend and messages such as these tend to trivialize this trend.”
--excerpt from “Let’s Change the Headlines”
Most patients suffering from heartburn don’t realize the severity of the disease, DeMeester said. However, this year more than 20,000 adults will die from GERD-induced esophageal cancer caused by reflux disease, and the incidence of adenocarcinoma (reflux-induced cancer) is the fastest-growing cancer in America.
Many Americans mistakenly think that no one has ever died from reflux disease and take their symptoms lightly, RefluxMD physicians report. Most people who suffer from heartburn and other symptoms possibly related to GERD will never see a physician. In addition, most of them “self-diagnose” which results in consumers needlessly using medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). But studies show that 30 percent of those using PPIs daily do not have reflux disease and are taking the medications unnecessarily.
“What’s needed is more consumer awareness about heartburn, reflux and esophageal cancer,” DeMeester said. “Starting with our ‘Let’s Change the Headlines’ article, RefluxMD is making it our mission to educate those suffering from reflux about the importance of not disregarding their symptoms, controlling the disease and giving them the tools to provide a lifetime of relief and healthiness.”
About RefluxMD (www.refluxmd.com):
San Diego-based RefluxMD (www.refluxmd.com) believes there is a better way to treat reflux disease. The Internet healthcare company has partnered with leading reflux specialists to champion a new approach to more effectively treat reflux disease patients and to create tools that help patients take control of their treatment. RefluxMD is designed to be a complete, personalized reflux resource.