Peptest, a home reflux diagnostic service, has highlighted the severity of symptoms presented by individuals seeking self-diagnosis.

Peptest is a first-line non-invasive diagnostic test and uses salivary pepsin as a biomarker for diagnosing reflux. Many individuals from both the UK and US seek a self-diagnosis for their reflux-like symptoms.

Now, in a study of 1,532 self-referral individuals (739 individuals from the UK and 793 individuals from the US), Peptest reveals the symptoms that are causing the most concern.

Illustrated in the form of a severity iceberg, it shows that the majority of symptoms (70 per cent) experienced by individuals are associated with the throat. Sore throat, burning throat and lump in throat are the most frequently reported symptoms among all individuals from both the UK and USA.

 Illustrating the symptom severity iceberg for patients in the UK and the USA seeking a self-diagnosis for their symptoms

Illustrating the symptom severity iceberg for patients in the UK and the USA seeking a self-diagnosis for their symptoms

Rarer symptoms reported included headache, back pain, soft stools and gum irritation.

Of those tested, 64 per cent produced one or more pepsin positive saliva samples, while the remaining produced pepsin negative saliva samples. The mean age of all individuals was 52 years, with an age range of one month to 90 years. The highest pepsin concentration was seen in the female UK population.

Individuals who tested pepsin positive presented with symptoms like globus (the feeling of a lump in the throat where no true lump exists), hoarseness, throat clearing and cough which are all symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Professor Peter Dettmar says: “Reflux is a common clinical complaint within the UK and USA population, often causing troublesome symptoms for example, heartburn, regurgitation and hoarseness. These symptoms are commonly associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).

Procedures for diagnosing reflux are at present invasive, time consuming and in some cases not reliable, leading to many individuals seeking a quick and easy non-invasive diagnostic method for self-diagnosis. This study shows the need for a self-referral diagnostic test for diagnosing reflux like symptoms, and also gives another route for individuals who have not been clinically diagnosed or in fact misdiagnosed by their clinical practitioner.”

The study is published in the Annals of Esophagus journal. 

An early and objective diagnosis of reflux, such as Peptest provides, opens the door to lifestyle changes, and future treatment. Peptest can also be used after reflux treatments to assess the success or failure of any treatment. Find out more about Peptest and order your Peptest home testing kit now.


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