Acid reflux and the resulting heartburn are not merely unpleasant conditions. Frequent acid reflux, in fact, increases the risk of esophageal cancer – one of the cancers that is still difficult to treat. And according to the results of a years-long research out of the Norwegian Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT), which followed the digestive health of almost 30,000 participants, the number of people who suffer from acid reflux at least once every week has increased by almost 50 percent in the last decade.
Explain it to me – What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when the stomach ejects acid and food into the esophagus, causing irritation of the esophagus and heartburn, which is characterized by a burning sensation in the lower chest. The increase in the incidence of acid reflux in recent years may be directly responsible for a corresponding increase in the incidence of esophageal cancer. Currently, the success rates for esophageal cancer treatment are very low.
Norwegian researchers, led by Eivind Ness-Jensen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Levanger, analyzed data taken from the HUNT study participants, which encompassed the years 1995-1996 and 2006-2009. They found that:
- The occurrence of any acid reflux symptoms increased from 31.4 percent of participants to 40.9 percent, which is equivalent to a 30 percent increase. The occurrence of more severe acid reflux symptoms, on the other hand, increased from 5.4 percent to 6.7 percent, which is equivalent to a 24 percent increase.
- The number of people who suffered from acid reflux at least once a week increased from 11.6 percent to 17.1 percent, which is equivalent to a 47 percent increase.
- Among those with severe acid reflux symptoms 98 percent experienced them at least once a week and/or used medications; among those with mild symptoms, 31 percent experienced them at least once a week and/or took medications.
- The average rate of suffering any acid reflux symptoms in a year was more than three percent while the rate for experiencing severe symptoms in a year was 0.23 percent.
- Among women, women younger than 40 years were least likely to experience acid reflux but were more likely to develop symptoms as they aged compared to men; women aged 60 to 69 years were most likely to experience severe acid reflux symptoms.
- While acid reflux symptoms often go away on their own, only two percent of participants who experienced symptoms reported not needing medications to help treat their acid reflux.
- Women younger than 40 years were most likely to have no need for medications to treat their acid reflux symptoms.
The authors pointed out that the increase in incidence of acid reflux may be attributed to the increase in incidence of obesity and being overweight while the higher susceptibility of women to acid reflux compared to men may be linked to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) use.
So, Are there any acid reflux remedies and treatment?
Yes, here are some suggestions..