Poorly treated GERD has a significant impact on patients' lives and can lead to reduced physical and social activity.
Poorly treated GERD has a significant impact on patients’ lives and can lead to reduced physical and social activity.
Findings from the DISCUSS (Defining and Identifying GapS in CommUnication between GERD and/or Heartburn Sufferers and PhysicianS) survey show that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has a significant impact on patients’ lives and can lead to reduced physical and social activity and quality of life.
The DISCUSS survey, released by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) in partnership with Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc, sampled more than 1,000 US adults who identified themselves as having GERD and/or frequent and persistent heartburn and “who said they experience GERD and/or heartburn symptoms two or more times per week when not treating the condition.”
More than half of survey respondents said that currently they "occasionally" (39%) or "never" (19%) discuss GERD and/or heartburn symptoms with a health care provider. More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) described their GERD and/or heartburn symptoms as “moderate to severe,” and one-third (33%) reported that they had canceled social activities or left a social event early because of their symptoms.
Thirty-one percent of respondents reported having to limit their physical activity because of their GERD and/or heartburn symptoms; approximately two-thirds of those who reported limits on physical activity were women.
According to the news release announcing the DISCUSS survey results, these findings “highlight the importance of active, ongoing conversations about the symptoms and triggers of GERD and/or heartburn between sufferers and HCPs and suggest that resources to help open and improve the lines of communications should be made available.”
Prateek Sharma, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO, said “Some of these findings suggest that many patients trivialize their symptoms and thus don't talk to their health care provider about the impact GERD is having on their lives. I encourage my patients to be open and descriptive about what they're experiencing. Then, together we can work to determine a plan of action to address their specific needs.”
Additional survey findings
The survey also additional information about the ways in which GERD sufferers communicate with their physician or health care provider.
HCPLive wants to know:
Do you encourage your patients who suffer from GERD or persistent heartburn to use checklists to track their symptoms?
Are you surprised by the survey results showing that patients frequently do not discuss their GERD symptoms with their physician? Does this match your experience with your patients?
In addition to checklists, are there other resources and tools you recommend to patients and/or colleagues to help manage GERD symptoms in patients?
What percentage of patients do you think self-medicate their GERD symptoms rather than seek professional medical advice and/or treatment?
What steps could patients and physicians take to improve their communication when it comes to discussing GERD?
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