There are several types of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – erosive and non-erosive (NERD). Erosive GERD is the most common form of the condition, while non-erosive NERD does not result in the erosion of the esophagus. Nevertheless, NERD can worsen into erosive GERD if left untreated and can negatively impact digestive health. Researchers believe that NERD is a hereditary condition.
The symptoms of GERD are similar to those of erosive esophagitis, but NERD is less serious. In fact, a study of 2306 people with GERD showed that 85% of the patients did not progress from mild esophagitis to severe GERD. It was also noted that the rate of progression to erosive esophagitis was low and that the condition usually did not progress to a more severe form.
Patients with NERD exhibit typical symptoms of GERD, but erosive esophagitis does not have typical symptoms. Typically, only 50 to 85% of those with GERD have endoscopic evidence of erosive esophagitis. Therefore, NERD is often mistaken for erosive esophagitis. A doctor will diagnose GERD if the patient displays any of the symptoms of erosive esophageal reflux disease, regardless of whether or not the condition is erosive.
In contrast, non-erosive esophagitis does not have the signs and symptoms of erosive esophagitis. In fact, more than 50% of patients who show typical GERD symptoms do not have evidence of erosive esophageal disease. This suggests that the mechanism of non-erosive esophageal reflux disease is distinct from that of erosive esophagitis.
In contrast to erosive GERD, NERD does not have any symptoms at all. However, if a person is overweight or obese, NERD should be addressed with medical treatment. Overweight people should lose excess weight as it increases pressure in the abdomen, which increases the risk of acid reflux.
Although acid is not responsible for all pathologic changes in GERD, it can lead to a variety of symptoms. In some cases, it is not necessary to undergo a surgical procedure. In some cases, the condition can be treated with medicine. Unlike with erosive GERD, NERD requires no surgery.
The most effective way to determine if NERD is present is to perform an endoscopy, which involves inserting a flexible tube with a camera into the esophagus. The patient must be diagnosed for at least four weeks before undergoing a biopsy. After the procedure, a pH probe is used to identify acid. The pH probe test is a common diagnostic procedure and can reveal NERD if no other condition is present.
For more information or if you have an interest in participating in a clinical trial, please visit www.icrmd.com.