IBD, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease, is the inflammation of the digestive track. It includes Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, approximately 1.6 million Americans have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, including 80,000 children and up to 70,000 new cases each year.
Symptoms of IBD can vary, depending on the severity. Some symptoms can be debilitating and some complications that may arise can be life-threatening. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, fever and fatigue, and abdominal pain and cramping.
The cause of IBD is not entirely known, but there have been studies done to help pin it down. According to WebMD, it is believed that “something triggers the body’s immune system to produce an unhealthy inflammatory reaction in the digestive tract.” The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation also believe the disease can be triggered by environmental factors.
According to WebMD, men and women have an equal chance of developing IBD in their lifetime. While it normally arises in the teen years or early adulthood, it can appear at other times throughout life. People who have a family history of IBD are 10 times more likely to get it than anyone else.
According the the Mayo Clinic, IBD is can be diagnosed through blood tests, forms of endoscopy, and various imaging techniques. It is diagnosed after ruling out other possible causes of symptoms. The disease can be treated with medicine or surgery. However, there is no cure for the disease.
May 19 is World IBD Day. People all over the world come together to raise awareness of the disease. According to World IBD Day’s website, in the past, over 140 landmarks around the world were lit up in purple to signify the day. The day is set aside to help people take action and show their support of people living with the disease.
Anyone can help in the fight against IBD. Raising awareness is important, as many do not know about what the diease is or how it impacts those around the world. There are many organizations doing research, so they need financial support. Even just supporting a loved one impacted by the disease can make a huge difference.