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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders in Western industrialized countries. Men and women develop GERD with equal frequency, but complicated GERD occurs more frequently in men and with advanced age. It is typically the result of prolonged exposure of the esophagus to gastric acid due to impaired esophageal motility, defects in the lower esophageal sphincter, and impairments in the antireflux barrier at the gastroesophageal junction. The acid exposure can damage the esophageal mucosa, potentially leading to Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancer. GERD is a chronic disease, and many patients require lifelong therapy. Treatment helps to reduce symptoms, promote esophageal healing, and reduce the risk for cancer.
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