This is a disease of the digestive tract, which is separated into two conditions: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, both of which are chronic, are diseases of unknown origin and cause inflammation in the intestines.
Ulcerative colitis affects the colon itself and for every 100,000 people, its incidence of occurrence ranges between 1.2 to 24.3 cases a year. “With Crohn’s disease, the inflamed sections of the intestine are generally separated by healthy parts of the intestine. This is not the case with ulcerative colitis, where inflammation is consistent throughout the intestine,” explains gastroenterologist, Alfonso Meisel Chinchilla.
The causes of this condition have yet to be understood by scientists. It is known, however, that a genetic component is involved and that environmental factors such as tobacco use and the overuse of antibiotics at a young age may also be factors that predispose people to this disease. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, gastrointestinal bleeding, weakness, nausea and vomiting may serve as warning signs for an individual suffering from this disease.
In the case of experiencing symptoms, see a specialist. Depending on the warning signs present, a specialist can request exams such as endoscopies, colonoscopies and other specialized clinical tests. “The key to treating this disease is to get an early diagnosis and to prevent complications from occurring. While this disease cannot be cured, it can be controlled through therapy that seeks to improve the quality of the patient’s life and to slow the onset of symptoms,” Meisel Chinchilla concludes.
The colon is a vital part of the body because it absorbs all the waste, water and electrolytes that remain after digestion which originate from the small intestine and form fecal matter.