Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic recurrent condition affecting millions of Americans. A recent study investigating the economic and social burden of gastrointestinal (GI) disease in the United States indicated that GERD was the most common GI-related diagnosis given at office visits in 2006. This study also showed that sales of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) exceeded $10 billion per year, and the number of prescriptions for PPIs per year has doubled since 1999.1 Numerous environmental and genetic risk factors have been implicated in the pathogenesis of GERD. GERD commonly presents with heartburn and acid regurgitation, although there are numerous atypical presentations, such as chronic cough, noncardiac chest pain, laryngitis, and poor sleep quality. This disease is associated with several other conditions, including Barrett's esophagus, esophageal carcinoma, gastritis, esophagitis, respiratory conditions, sleep disorders, and various ear-nose-throat (ENT) conditions. Conventional treatment often includes the use of PPIs and other acid blockers. Natural therapies and lifestyle interventions are important to consider, owing to the chronic nature of GERD.
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