Obesity is triggering a rise in people suffering from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) over the last decade, according to researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Sweden's Karolinska Institute and Kings College London. This rise in the acid reflux symptoms has been linked to esophageal cancer.
Lifestyle, diet and obesity are causing the increase in reflux symptoms; with obesity being the major contributor.
After studying 30,000 people researchers found that the number of people experiencing at least one acid reflux attack a week has risen from 11.6% to 17.1% in just over a decade, while those suffering severe symptoms is up from 5.4% to 6.7%.
Lead researcher Dr. Eivind Ness-Jensen said, "The problem is that these symptoms are associated with adenocarcinoma of the lower esophagus. What we are afraid of is increasing incidence of this cancer, which is increasing already. It might get worse in the future. There are few treatments for this cancer and the prognosis is very poor."
Researchers feel that there is a possibility that losing weight could reduce the risk of developing GERD and esophageal cancer.
The study is published in the online edition of the medical journal Gut.