Epidemiology

Epidemiological studies of achalasia have been relatively few. A summary of the available investigations, which include both adults and children, shows an incidence of 0.4-1.2/105 persons/year in Europe and North America.6-11 The incidence in children is far lower. Approximately 4-5% of all cases of achalasia are diagnosed before the age of 15. More so than the adult form, childhood acha-lasia can occur with associated abnormalities, such as familial glucocorticoid deficiency, alacrima, autonomic system disorder, short stature, microcephaly and nerve deafness.12-16 Contrary to the generally accepted view of a female predominance, achalasia actually appears to affect men and women equally.17,18 Studies that exhibit higher rates in females, when adjusted for their higher population of women, show that the incidence of achalasia approaches that expected in the general population.6,9

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