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.
‘The World Digestive Health Day 2017 focuses on inflammatory bowel diseases with the campaign titled: Navigating Evolving Therapies in an Evolving Disease.’
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
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.
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
World Gastroenterology Organization hopes to educate patients as well as health
professionals about these inflammatory bowel conditions this World Digestive
You could also play your part by organizing and participating in programs that
increase awareness about these conditions.
- WDHD 2017 - (http://www.worldgastroenterology.org/wgo-foundation/wdhd/wdhd-2017)
- Epidemiology of the IBD - (https://www.cdc.gov/ibd/ibd-epidemiology.htm)