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IBD Awareness Week #1

Via the Great Bowel Movement
Yesterday kicked off IBD Awareness week (December 1-7).  Steph and I do a lot of work with people with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, and dedicated our first patient education event to sharing information about the social and emotional aspects of living with the disease.  In today's post, I'm going to share a few of the statistics we presented and will follow up in later posts this week with some of the tips we gave people to manage their social and emotional experiences.

First, some basics:
  • Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (aka Inflammatory Bowel Disease) are chronic inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract.
  • Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States have an IBD diagnosis, and these numbers seem to be increasing.
  • The typical age to be diagnosed with IBD is between the ages of 16 and 25.
  • Crohn's disease can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth all the way down to the anus.  Ulcerative Colitis only affects the large intestines (aka colon).

  • There is no cure for Crohn's disease, but surgical removal of the colon will cure Ulcerative Colitis.
  • People typically take daily medications to manage their symptoms and keep themselves in remission, which means most people with IBD are on some type of medication for the rest of their life.  Others give themselves injections once or twice a month, or receive an infusion every 6-8 weeks.

Now that we've covered the basics, I wanted to share those statistics on the role of stress and the emotional impact of IBD:

  • 75% of people with IBD believe that stress is a major contributor to them developing Crohn's disease or Ulcerative Colitis.

  • 90% believe stress influences their disease activity.
  • 29-35% of people report anxiety and/or depression even when in remission.

  • These rates increase to 80% for anxiety and 60% for depression during a flare.

Do you or someone you know live with IBD?  How has it impacted your/his or her mood?

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