Acid Reflux & Heartburn Information
What is acid reflux?
‘Acid reflux’ refers to a common gastro-intestinal condition in which stomach acid splashes up into the sensitive esophagus (throat). Canadians of all ages experience acid reflux - in fact, about 24% of Canadians report experiencing heartburn, the most frequent symptom of acid reflux, daily or even more often.
What is heartburn?
‘Heartburn’ is the most common symptom of acid reflux. It describes the painful, burning sensation that you feel in your chest and/or throat after eating spicy food or a large meal, when bending over, during physical activity or most often, when lying in bed at night.
What is GERD?
‘GERD’ stands for ‘Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease’, and is a chronic condition caused by recurring acid reflux episodes. About 13% of Canadians suffer from GERD symptoms weekly.
While heartburn is the most common symptom, people afflicted with GERD may also experience difficult or painful swallowing, asthma, unexplained chest pain or bad breath. Since GERD symptoms often occur at night, many GERD sufferers have difficulty sleeping. In fact, about 43% feel consistently tired or worn out. The effect of GERD on sleep patterns significantly impacts quality of life; many GERD patients find it challenging to engage in daily activities, and about 7% have had to miss work.
Despite the fact that the quality of life of those with GERD is similar to that of patients who have undergone acute coronary events, GERD remains largely misunderstood or unrecognized by the general public, the patients themselves, and healthcare systems and providers.
If you believe you might be suffering from GERD, we recommend speaking to your healthcare professional about your symptoms.
For more information, read about GERD in Canada.