World IBD Day

Tuesday, May 19, is World IBD Day. This is a day for everyone affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Stand up, take action, raise awareness and support the 300,000 people in the UK and millions more worldwide living with Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and other types of IBD. 

The two most common forms of IBD are Crohn's Disease (often just called Crohn's) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). In both UC and Crohn's parts of the digestive system (the gut), which includes the intestines become sore or inflamed. Crohn's can affect any part of the digestive system from the mouth to the anus. UC affects the colon (large intestine) and rectum.

What are the main symptoms of IBD?
IBD symptoms vary from person to person- and usually over time. IBD is a chronic (long term) disease and if you have IBD, you will probably have periods of good health (remission) and relapses or "flare-ups" when the symptoms get worse. 
The main symptoms are: 
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea (sometimes mixed with blood, especially in Ulcerative Colitis)
  • Tiredness and Fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Abscesses and Fistulas (in Crohn's)
  • Swollen Joints, Mouth Ulcers, Eye Problems

Who gets IBD?
Anyone can develop IBD- and at least 261,000* are affected by Ulcerative Colitis (146,000*) and Crohn's Disease (115,000*) in the UK - Although recently published data suggests that this could be as many as 620,000.
The illnesses can occur at any age, but often begin in younger people aged 10-40. Both conditions are found worldwide but are more common in developed countries. 

*Figures published by NICE (2012 and 2013)

What causes IBD? Is there a cure?
Nobody is sure, but researchers and experts believe both Crohn's and UC are caused by a combination of factors, including:
  • Genes
  • An abnormal reaction of the digestive system to bacteria in the intestine
  • An unknown "trigger" or set of triggers that could include: Viruses, other bacteria, diet , stress or something else in the environment. 

Although there is no cure at the moment, a lot can be done with medication and surgery to help keep symptoms under control and to reduce the chance of flare-up. 

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