Heartburn highly prevalent in obese

Nov. 1, 2004 at 4:26 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Symptoms of heartburn are highly prevalent among obese patients, according to Dr. Mary Thomas of University Hospital at Stony Brook, N.Y.

Thomas studied a series of 56 morbidly obese patients for the prevalence of acid reflux and esophagitis and compared them to general population of Olmsted City, Minn.

Overall, heartburn and or acid regurgitation were found among 75 percent of the morbidly obese patients, while 23 percent experienced difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia, and 34 percent experienced asthma symptoms. These symptoms were more prevalent among the obese patients than in the general population.

In another study, Dr. Heiko Pohl and Dr. Douglas Robertson of the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt., found those in the highest weight group were 3.5 times more likely to develop esophageal adenocarcinoma -- cancer -- than patients in the lowest weight group calculated by body mass index. Adjusting for other possible risk factors such as acid reflux, smoking or a diet low in vegetables, had minimal affect on this outcome.

The findings were presented at the 69th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando, Fla.

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