Obesity and Reflux Disease (Heart Burn)

In 2003, a case-control study from Norway (which included 3,113 individuals with GERD ( Reflux Disease) and 39,872 individuals without GERD) found a positive association between increasing Obesity and GERD in both sexes, but the association was more robust in women. Compared with those who had a normal BMI (<25), the risk of GERD was increased among men and women who were severely obese (BMI >35). Any increase in Obesity was associated with an increase in the risk of GERD. A positive association between Obesity and GERD has also been reported by other studies from the UK and USA.Meta-analyses have concluded that individuals with BMI >30 have an approximately twofold increased risk of GERD compared with individuals who have a normal BMI.

According to Dr. Arush Sabharwal:

Obesity-related changes in the Stomach and Esophagus (food pipe) contribute to an explanation for this association. Obese people are at higher risk for Hiatus Hernia, Lax lower esophageal Sphincter (muscle) and other diseases. Similarly, in a US study, the analysis of esophageal pH in patients with GERD demonstrated that obese individuals had a fivefold increase in risk of abnormal total acid exposure (which provides a more objective assessment of reflux) compared with those of normal weight. Additionally, they found that a mechanically defective lower esophageal sphincter was over-represented in patients who were obese compared with those of normal weight. The association between obesity and GERD might also be mediated by increased estrogen exposure in individuals who are obese.

Weight Loss

The literature regarding the potential beneficial effect of weight loss on alleviating the symptoms of GERD is limited, heterogeneous and partly contradictory. Nevertheless, a systematic review of the available literature, published in 2009, concluded that weight loss resulting after surgical intervention can reduce the symptoms of GERD. Dr. Arush Sabharwal says: weight loss through Obesity Surgery has remarkable results for not only Reflux Disease but also all the other Obesity related Comorbidities like Diabetes, Hypertension, Female and Male Infertility, Snoring, Joint Pains etc.)

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