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World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar 7;14(9):1358-64.

Prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms in a large unselected general population in Japan.

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Division of Gastroenterology Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-1 Seiryou-Machi, Aobaku, Sendai 980-8574, Japan.



To examine the prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms in a large unselected general population in Japan.


In Japan, mature adults are offered regular check-ups for the prevention of gastric cancer. A notice was sent by mail to all inhabitants aged>40 years. A total of 160983 Japanese (60774 male, 100209 female; mean age 61.9 years) who underwent a stomach check up were enrolled in this study. In addition, from these 160983 subjects, we randomly selected a total of 82894 (34275 male, 48619 female; mean age 62.4 years) to evaluate the prevalence of abdominal pain. The respective subjects were prospectively asked to complete questionnaires concerning the symptoms of heartburn, dysphagia, and abdominal pain for a 1 mo period.


The respective prevalences of the symptoms in males and females were: heartburn, 15.8% vs 20.7%; dysphagia, 5.4% vs 7.8%; and abdominal pain, 6.6% vs 9.6%. Among these symptoms, heartburn was significantly high compared with the other symptoms, and the prevalence of heartburn was significantly more frequent in females than in males in the 60-89-year age group. Dysphagia was also significantly more frequent in female patients.


The prevalence of typical GERD symptoms (heartburn) was high, at about 20% of the Japan population, and the frequency was especially high in females in the 60-89 year age group.

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