THE PREVALENCE OF ACID REFLUX IN AMERICA: THE TIMES SQUARE STUDY
Until now, the prevalence of acid reflux was unknown. In addition, it is clear that not all refluxers have classic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Many people have symptoms and manifestations of reflux without having heartburn or indigestion, including hoarseness, post-nasal drip, sinus, chronic cough, difficulty swallowing, a sensation of a lump in the throat, and sore throat. This latter group has laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), sometimes called silent reflux.
We interviewed 1,010 people (U.S. citizens) in Times Square in New York City, who were in line waiting to buy discount theater tickets (at TKTS). Thus, we obtained a random sample of respondents from all over the nation. The data showed that 40% of the American population had reflux. Twenty-two percent (22%) had known (diagnosed by a doctor) GERD; another 18% had reflux symptoms (including LPR and GERD) but weren’t under a doctors care. One of the biggest surprises in this study was that young people in the 20-30 year-old age group had almost as much reflux (37%) as older people.