Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the most common disorder of the upper gastrointestinal track. It's estimated that up to 40% of Americans take some form of anti-acid medication at least once a month, making it one of the most commonly used types of medication in the world.
Heartburn is simply a burning sensation behind the breast bone, and is not necessarily from GERD. It can be caused by a variety of other disorders, including heart disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and disorders of other parts of the gastrointestinal track, including the stomach, pancreas, gall bladder, liver, or intestine A simple way to differentiate GERD from heartburn is to take antacids or over the counter acid suppressants. There are two classes of acid suppressants: H2 blockers like ranitidine/zantac; and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like prilosec/omeprazole. If the symptom partially or completely responds, it is likely caused by stomach acid, particularly GERD.
How is GERD managed?
GERD is rarely life-threatening and can generally be managed symptomatically. Some may ...