Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is actually a term used to classify a few different conditions. Two of these are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These are rare diseases, but their rates are increasingly growing.
“There is no doubt that IBD is now becoming a global pandemic.”
IBD is a lifelong condition and the symptoms can be debilitating. They include fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea, and pain. The symptoms are not predictable and while there are therapeutic options, there is no cure.
Despite the growing rate of IBD, the increase has not been recognized by much of the world.
When examining the prevalence of this disease globally, Hesse, Germany has the highest prevalence with 322 individuals out of every 100,000 diagnosed with IBD.
Edinburgh, Scotland has one of the next highest rates. Unfortunately, the rates of diagnosis in the country is only supposed to rise. One study estimated one in every 125 people in the city have IBD. By 2028, it’s predicted this number will be one in every 98 people. 432 individuals out of every 100,000 have ulcerative colitis specifically. A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh estimated that 284 out of every 100,000 individuals in the city have Crohn’s disease specifically.
One of the other areas with a high disease rate is south-east Norway. There, 505 individuals out of every 100,000 are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
Thankfully, IBD has a low mortality rate. However, this doesn’t negate the fact that it can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life. Researchers understand that part of the reason that the number of people with IBD has been rising is because people who are currently living with IBD are aging as new individuals are being diagnosed.
As the number of people with IBD grows, not only are more individuals suffering, but more strain is being put on healthcare resources.
Advocates are primarily fighting for more resources. This will open the way to increased research and ultimately increased care.
An Upcoming Study
As more studies are conducted, such as those that revealed the above numbers, word spreads about the need for research and more investigations are initiated.
For instance, the University of Glasgow has just announced that they will be beginning a new study examining whether or not a solid-food based diet will aid in treating Crohn’s disease. This study is possible thanks to £900,000 in funding.
If successful, this study could be life-changing for patients as this method of therapy could be more tolerable. Typically, Crohn’s disease is treated with a liquid nutrition formula. This is administered through a nasal tube which goes into the stomach and the treatment period lasts a full eight weeks.
Researchers believe that a solid-food based treatment will lead to better compliance. Additionally, this method of treatment would be much less invasive for patients.
You can read more about this new study and the current state of IBD globally here.