Perception of gastroesophageal reflux disease in urban population in Pakistan
Objective: To determine the frequency and health care seeking behavior of patients with gastroesophageal reflux symptoms using American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) questionnaire for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).Design: Cross-sectional study.PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: Section of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, from April 2002 to November 2003.PATIENTS AND Methods: A total of 1267 persons above 15 years of age were interviewed using a modified questionnaire for GERD from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), which previously validated in our section as a screening tool in an urban population in Pakistan.Results: Nine hundred and sixty-three individuals responded to the questionnaire. Mean age of the surveyed sample was 24+/-9.3 years. Using the ACG criteria, the overall frequency of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms was 24% (228/963) with 58% (133/228) males and 42% (95/228) females. Symptoms experienced frequently were reflux from the stomach, 58% (133/228), with a bitter, acid taste in the mouth. Seventy-four percent (169/228) experienced this postprandially. Symptoms were associated with spicy fried food in 71% (161/228). Sixty-seven percent (152/228) did not seek health care advice, 32% (74/228) practiced self-medications and 33% (76/228) consulted a physician.CONCLUSION: Gastroesophageal reflux is a common problem in the urban population of Pakistan.