Doctor Patel in the lab

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Answers to common questions

Quick Facts  

  • Commonly referred to as “heartburn”
  • Up to 10% of all Americans have daily reflux symptoms
  • Can alter the lining cells of the esophagus resulting in Barrett’s esophagus

Who Gets It?  

  • 10% of all Americans
  • Certain lifestyles and behaviors are associated with GERD including:    
  1. Obesity    
  2. Caffeine consumption    
  3. Smoking    
  4. Eating meals close to bedtime
  5. Diet rich in fatty foods    
  6.  Pregnancy

What Are The Symptoms?  

  • Heartburn or acid indigestion which is best described as a burning pain in the middle of the chest and upper stomach  
  • Blood in the stool
  • Some people simply have a cough or difficulty swallowing 

How Is It Detected/Diagnosed?  

  • A thorough history and physical by your physician may be adequate to diagnose it
  • Other studies which may be used include upper endoscopy (placing a tube with a camera and light down your throat); radiology exams and even pH monitoring

How Is It Treated?  

  • Treatment will be outlined by your physician based on your individual medical history  
  • Medications to block acid production are commonly used
  • Altering lifestyle and diet to avoid late meals, caffeine, smoking and other risk factors

Other Useful Resources

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)


1355 River Bend Drive
Dallas, Texas 75247 


This publication is intended for patient education and information only. It does not constitute advice, nor should it be taken to suggest or replace professional medical care from your physician. Your treatment options may vary, depending upon your medical history and current condition.