Why raising awareness about Inflammatory Bowel Diseases is imperative

Treatment options for the IBD depend upon the type and stage of the disease: Photo: CeltStudio / Shutterstock

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) comprise a group of diseases in which there is long-standing inflammation of tissues in your digestive tract. It is caused by the incorrect response of the immune system to various factors like genetic, environmental factors, viruses, bacteria and so on. To raise awareness of inflammatory bowel disease, May 19 is celebrated as World IBD Day. This year World IBD Day's theme is 'IBD has no age'. The theme focuses on IBD awareness, especially in the older age group.

Risk factors of IBD

Age: Most people develop IBD before 30 years. But these diseases can develop in the 50s and 60s.

Race: More common in the Western population.

Family history: This can occur more commonly in family members or siblings of the patient.

Smoking: Ulcerative colitis develops more commonly in smokers.

Types of Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)

Ulcerative colitis: It causes inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine (Colon).

Crohn’s disease: In this type, ulcers mainly involve the small bowel. But the stomach and large bowel can also be involved in some cases.

Unclassified: In this type, it is difficult to classify IBD to a particular type.

Symptoms of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

» Diarrhea

» Abdominal pain

» Blood in stool

» Loss of appetite and weight loss

» Patients with these symptoms are advised to consult a physician and undergo necessary investigations.

How to diagnose IBD?

» Based on signs and symptoms, your physician may advise following tests to reach the diagnosis of IBD.

» Blood tests like CBC, ESR, CRP, stool routine examination.

» Colonoscopy or endoscopy (a biopsy may be taken to diagnose the disease).

» CT scan or MRI.

How to treat IBD?

» Treatment options depend upon the type and stage of the disease.

» Anti-inflammatory drugs: like mesalamine are used most commonly.

» Oral or intravenous steroids may be useful in severe cases.

» Biological agents like Infliximab, adalimumab.

» If drugs fail or the disease turns severe, surgery may be needed.

Diet in IBD?

» Western diet, high in fats and sugars, low in fibre and vegetables can cause inflammation of the gut.

» Patient should consult physician or dietician to create a well-balanced diet.

» IBD medications tend to be more effective in well-nourished individuals.

» When weight loss is severe, the doctor may recommend diet via a feeding tube (enteral) or intravenous (parenteral) route.

(Dr Abdul Majeed is Gastroenterologist, Centre for Gastro sciences, Meitra Hospital, Kozhikode)

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