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 24 May 2018

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News

Gastroesophageal reflux among different racial groups in the US

White and black people in the United States have a similarly high prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms, find doctors in the June issue of Gastroenterology.

News image

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In the United States, whites are more affected by esophageal adenocarcinoma than blacks.

It is unknown whether this racial discrepancy reflects a higher prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms or a higher degree of esophageal damage.

In this study, doctors from Texas, USA, performed a cross-sectional survey followed by endoscopy in employees at a VA medical center.

The team analyzed the association between race, GERD symptoms and erosive esophagitis.
Black people have a lower prevalence of esophagitis.
Gastroenterology

A total of 496 employees returned interpretable questionnaires. Endoscopy was performed in 215 of these participants. Participants mean age was 45 years.

The team found that 68% of participants were women, and 43% were black, 34% white, and 23% other races.

The doctors found that heartburn occurring at least weekly was reported in 27% of blacks, 23% of whites, and 24% of other races.

The team determined that the age-adjusted prevalence of heartburn or regurgitation was not significantly different between the groups.

They found that 23% of participants had erosive esophagitis. Only one person had Barrett’s esophagus.

Black participants with weekly GERD symptoms had less frequent erosive esophagitis than white participants (24% versus 50%).

The doctors calculated that black participants had a persistently lower risk of esophagitis.

Dr Hashem El-Serag’s team concluded, “White and black people in the United States have a similarly high prevalence of GERD symptoms”.

“However, black people have a lower prevalence of esophagitis for the same frequency of GERD symptoms”.

“Barrett’s esophagus was rare in this study, even among those with frequent symptoms”.

Gastroenterology 2004; 126(7):
10 June 2004

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