Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis

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Ulcerative Colitis- The prevalence of ulcerative colitis is greater among Ashkenazi Jews and decreases progressively in other persons of Jewish descent, non-Jewish Caucasians, Africans, Hispanics, and Asians.

IT IS a disease which appears to run in families

It creeps up on you Its treatment differs from person to person It affects all age group. Sounds complex? IT IS!

Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the general name for diseases that cause inflammation in the small intestine and colon.  It can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to other intestinal disorders and to another type of IBD called Crohn’s Disease.

Ulcerative Colitis affects men and women equally and appears to run in families, with reports of 20% of people with the disease having a family member or relative with Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease.

IT MOST COMMONLY begins during adolescence and early adulthood but can begin during childhood and later in life.

IT IS FOUND WORLDWIDE but is most common in the United States, England, and northern Europe.  It is especially common in people of Jewish descent.  Ulcerative Colitis is rarely seen in the black population.  For unknown reasons, an increased frequency of this condition has been recently observed in developing nations.

 People with Ulcerative Colitis have abnormalities of the immune system, but doctors do not know whether these abnormalities are a cause or a result of the disease.  The body’s immune system is believed to react abnormally to bacteria in the digestive tract.

Ulcerative Colitis is not caused by emotional distress or sensitivity to certain foods or food products, but these factors may trigger symptoms in some people.  The stress of living with Ulcerative Colitis may also contribute to a worsening of symptoms.

 The most common symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis are abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and diarrhea.  However, anemia, fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, loss of body fluids and nutrients, joint pain and growth failure (specifically in children) may be experienced.

Complications of Ulcerative Colitis can involve other parts of the body causing problems such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diseases of the liver and bile ducts, and painful or red eyes. Because these particular complications can risk permanent vision impairment, eye pain or redness are symptoms that require a physician’s evaluation.

It is not known why these problems occur outside the colon. Scientists think these complications may be the result of inflammation triggered by the immune system.  Some of these problems go away when the colitis is treated.

Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis may be done by way of a stool sample, blood test or colonoscopy.

Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis depends on the severity of the disease.  Each person experiences Ulcerative Colitis differently, so treatment is adjusted for each individual.  Since Ulcerative Colitis cannot be cured by mediation, the goals of treatment with medication are to induce and maintain remissions, minimize side effects and improve the quality of life.

Some people have remissions that last for months or even years.  However, symptoms eventually return in most people.

SURGERY FOR ULCERATIVE COLITIS USUALLY INVOLVES removing the entire colon and the rectum, which is the only cure for Ulcerative Colitis.  This procedure also eliminates the risk of developing colon cancer.  Doctors will recommend removing the colon only if medical treatment fails, if the side effects of drugs threaten the person’s health, or to prevent colon rupture.

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

 Crohn’s Disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut. Crohn’s can affect any part of the gut. The most common area affected is the end of the colon. Crohn’s is a chronic condition. This means that it is ongoing and life-long, although you may have periods of good health (remission), as well as times when symptoms are more active (relapses or flare-ups).

  

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