While it remains uncommon, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has increased over the years as a result of urban lifestyles.
IBD consists of two diseases that cause inflammation in the intestines: Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). For every 100,000 people, there are between 1 and 24 cases a year of UC; while this figure remains low, it continues to rise.
Detecting either of these quickly is vital as they require timely medical treatment in order to avoid complications that can be difficult to control. The onset of several of the following signs and symptoms therefore merits medical attention:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Loss of strength
- Nausea and vomiting
The less severe the disease is, the better it can be treated. While it is true that it cannot be completely cured, there are treatment options that can improve one’s quality of life and that patients respond better to the sooner they are initiated.
Treatment can range from exercising and maintaining a specific diet to using biological response modifiers, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, sulfasalazine, anti-diarrhea medications and even surgery.
Gastroenterologist Alfonso Meisel Chinchilla, explains that while the cause of this disease is unknown, it is becoming clear that one’s lifestyle has an influence on it. “Factors such as changes in eating habits, western influence and improving diagnosis may be related to this rise of cases,” he states.