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Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Risk Factors Associated With It!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Rajdeep Singh 86% (13 ratings)
MD - Medicine, MRCP - Gastroenterology, MBBS
Gastroenterologist, Chandigarh  •  17 years experience
Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Risk Factors Associated With It!

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of conditions wherein the intestines become inflamed. IBD is a collective term used for the diseases like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis (UC) and indeterminate colitis. So it won’t be wrong to say that IBD is an umbrella term used to denote various diseases.

These are the painful diseases which, involving an abnormal response by the immune system, damages the lining of the digestive system, hence causing fatigue and/or weight loss, inflammation and ulceration, severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea and bloody stools.

  1. Ulcerative colitis: This causes a long-lasting inflammation and sores in the innermost lining of large intestine and rectum.
  2. Crohn's disease: This causes inflammation of the lining of digestive tract, which penetrates deep into affected tissues.

The symptoms of IBD mainly depend upon how severe the inflammation is and also its location. Symptoms can be mild or severe. In this condition, there are periods of active illness and remission.

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Fever and fatigue
  3. Abdominal pain and cramping
  4. Blood in your stool
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Weight loss

Though the exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease remains unknown, it is said that diet and stress lead to this condition. However, doctors say that there are many factors which aggravate IBD which are:

  1. Immune System Malfunction: One of the predominant cause for this conditions is when immune system attempts to fight an invading virus or bacterium, and there is an abnormal immune response—which causes the immune system to attack the cells in the digestive tract.
  2. Heredity: It is also considered to be a cause of IBD. It is said that IBD occurs mostly in people who have a family history of this disease. However, not only people who suffer from this disease have any family history.

Risk factors you should know about:

  1. Smoking: Smoking is one of the main factors for developing this condition. It aggravates the symptoms of this disease hence compounding the problem.
  2. Race: IBD can occur in all races. However, there are certain ethnic groups such as Caucasians and Ashkenazi Jews that have a higher risk.
  3. Age: IBD usually starts before the age of 35. Although it can happen at any age.
  4. Genetics: If you have a parent, child etc with IBD, there are chances that you are at higher risk to get this condition.

Complications due to IBD

  1. Obstruction in bowels
  2. Weight loss
  3. Ulcers that penetrate the bowel wall
  4. Colon cancer

There are some rare cases where a serious bout of IBD can make a person go into shock – which can be life-threatening. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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