Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious form of gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux. Acid exists in the stomach and seldom causes any problem when it stays there. When acid escapes into your esophagus through a weak or overloaded valve at the top of the stomach, the result is gastroesophageal reflux, and heartburn and acid indigestion are common symptoms. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of patients with even mild sporadic symptoms of heartburn develop a condition called Barrett's Esophagus, which is a change in the lining membrane of the esophagus, a cause of esophageal cancer.
More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month and approximately 25 million experience daily heartburn. If you suffer from persistent pain, chronic heartburn, and have difficulty swallowing, you may have GERD—a disease that left untreated can result in serious medical complications. At least 95 percent of people who suffer from heartburn and GERD can benefit from medical management.