Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease or “IBD” presently affects 1.4 million people in the United States according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), but surprisingly, little is known as to what causes the onset of this disease. IBD is a managed condition, as both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main chronic illness’ that signify IBD. Depending on which diagnosis a patient receives, there are a multitude of FDA approved medications that are accepted for managing their IBD. Recent additions to the medicinal arsenal include, Cimzia, approved in 2008, to treat the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Cimzia targets the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) through injections given monthly. These treatments, under close physician observation, can dramatically improve the patient’s lifestyle.

Failure to accurately diagnose IBD can be, in some cases fatal; so it is important that if a patient presents with symptoms of IBD, tests should be performed without delay to diagnose the symptoms. Some of these symptoms include, but are not limited to, abdominal pain and/or cramping, loss of appetite, bloating/distension, granulomas, mucus in the stool, ulceration in the digestive tract, and persistent diarrhea. Some of the non-intestinal symptoms are delayed growth in children, fever, eye irritations, weight loss, and a worsening of symptoms during a menstrual period. IBD diagnosis is highly specialized, as other illness’ such as diverticulitis present symptoms that are identical or very similar to Irritable Bowel Disease.

There are studies in which IBD presents heavier among certain races, however, IBD is found mostly in the developed world.There is even a preliminary study that shows exciting promise on ulcerative colitis that is called fecal bacteriotherapy (FB). In this procedure, healthy fecal matter is inserted in the patient from a donor to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in the patients large intestine. Even though there have been many advances in medicine, proper diagnosis and treatment are the key to managing this possibly very debilitating disease.

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