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Lifestyle Modifications in Adults and Older Adults With Chronic Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Commisso, Antonio, BSN, RN; Lim, Fidelindo, DNP, CCRN

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0000000000000239
Original Articles

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic disorder that causes the unwanted backflow of gastric contents into the esophagus, throat, and mouth.1 Gastroesophageal reflux disease affects roughly 20% of the US population. It is estimated that older adults experience GERD symptoms more commonly and with greater severity because of age-related physiologic changes. Comorbidities and polypharmacy, common in older adults, can also exacerbate GERD symptoms, which can allow the disease to progress. This integrative review aims to identify key lifestyle-associated risk factors and interventions appropriate for older adults with GERD. Findings can drive evidence-based collaborative best practices to care for patients in both acute and community settings with GERD. Recommendations for nursing education material that aims to address the gap of multilingual and culturally relevant GERD content will be discussed. It is likely that the prevalence of GERD will increase as the prevalence of obesity increases. It is here that registered nurses can play an instrumental role in the prevention and management of GERD in older adults by providing education, promoting health behaviors, and serving as patient advocates.

NYU Langone Health, Tisch Hospital, New York (Mr Commisso) and NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, New York (Mr Lim).

Correspondence: Antonio Commisso, BSN, RN, NYU Langone Health, Tisch Hospital, 560 First Ave, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10016 (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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