A pair of experts at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine has found evidence that people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — a common problem that has been associated with cancers, asthma, recurrent aspiration and pulmonary fibrosis — do not have an increased risk of death as compared to people without the disease.
Published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, their study is based on an analysis of over 50,000 person-years of data. It showed no difference in survival rates between people suffering from GERD, often known as acid reflux, and non-sufferers.
Instead, the study showed that people with infrequent acid reflux may actually have better survival rates than those with either daily symptoms or none at all.
"It may be that occasional reflux symptoms are a reflection of potential protective behaviours that are associated with reflux, such as regular exercise or modest amounts of alcohol ingestion," suggest Nicholas J. Talley and G. Richard Locke, III, co-authors of the study.
The authors say that their study adds perspective to the risk of acid reflux symptoms. They have also revealed that though there are a large number of acid reflux sufferers in the US, incidences of related cancer are extremely rare.
"Although extraesophageal manifestations occur in some people with reflux disease, our results suggest that this disease is a benign condition in the vast majority of sufferers," say the authors.