World Digestive Health Day 2017: Navigating Evolving Therapies in an Evolving Disease

World Digestive Health Day 2017: Navigating Evolving Therapies in an Evolving Disease

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Highlights:
  • The World Digestive Health Day is celebrated by the World Gastroenterology Organization on the 29th of May every year
  • This year, it draws our attention to inflammatory bowel diseases
  • It aims to create awareness among patients as well as health care professionals on how to deal with the condition
The World Digestive Health Day 2017, celebrated by the World Gastroenterology Organization on the 29th of May, focuses on inflammatory bowel diseases with the campaign titled, Navigating Evolving Therapies in an Evolving Disease.
World Digestive Health Day 2017: Navigating Evolving Therapies in an Evolving Disease

Problems related to the digestive tract usually worry us quite a bit. We feel disturbed with constipation or diarrhea, acidity or flatulence. At the same time, we tend to continue with several serious digestive tract disorders without receiving the correct treatment, usually because we are unaware of the seriousness of the condition. The World Digestive Health Day 2017 focuses our attention on one such condition called inflammatory bowel diseases.

Inflammatory bowel diseases are common digestive tract disorders with around 1 to 1.3 million patients in the United States alone. The two main types, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are differentiated from each other with respect to the site of the digestive tract involved. While ulcerative colitis mainly affects the large intestine, Crohn's disease can affect any part of the digestive tract.

The early development of inflammatory bowel disease implies that a major part of the productive life of the patient is affected. Symptoms vary among patients and include urgency of bowel movements, cramping, weight loss, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue and joint pain. It is important for health care professionals to suspect the condition based on these symptoms so that the diagnosis can be made early and treatment can be promptly begun.

Along with the older drugs including aminosalicylates like sulfasalazine, corticosteroids like prednisone, and immunomodulatory drugs like 6-mercaptopurine and azathioprine used to bring about a disease-free remission, newer drugs called biologicals have benefited several patients. Drugs like adalimumab, infliximab, natalizumab and vedolizumab are particularly useful when the other drugs do not work. Gastroenterologists, should be aware of these medications so that they can be used in patients, who do not respond to other medications. Unfortunately, many of the expensive medications may not be within the reach of patients in underdeveloped and developing countries. Newer treatments are being evaluated which hopefully can bring about a specific effect on the digestive tract without causing adverse effects on other parts of the body.

Patients should also be particular to take the medication on a regular basis so that they can go into periods of remission.

A diagnosis of an inflammatory bowel disease does not mean that you should sit at home and do nothing. Live your life as normally as possible. At the same time, you may have to avoid excess stress, since stress can worsen your symptoms.

Since there is no definite cause for these two inflammatory disorders, it is difficult to prevent them. Smoking can worsen Crohn's disease; you should therefore avoid or stop smoking once the diagnosis is made. Ulcerative colitis can predispose to bowel cancer, and therefore requires regular colonoscopies for early detection of cancerous changes.

The World Gastroenterology Organization hopes to educate patients as well as health professionals about these inflammatory bowel conditions this World Digestive Health Day. You could also play your part by organizing and participating in programs that increase awareness about these conditions.

References:
  1. WDHD 2017 - (http://www.worldgastroenterology.org/wgo-foundation/wdhd/wdhd-2017)
  2. Epidemiology of the IBD - (https:www.cdc.gov/ibd/ibd-epidemiology.htm)


Source: Medindia

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