On the occasion of World IBD Day, leading experts in the UAE are raising awareness on the growing incidence of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) among communities in the Middle East. Inflammatory bowel disease refers to two disorders, ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD), that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.
In IBD, the normal immune response is overactive in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract within the digestive system. This causes inflammation of the GI tract, which can result in swelling, blockage, and infections. There is no known cause for UC or CD, although many researchers believe that the interaction between genes, the body’s immune system, and environmental factors may play a role. Often diagnosed during young adulthood, UC and CD are debilitating diseases that patients have to manage throughout their lives.
“Living with these conditions has a major impact on a patient’s physical and emotional wellbeing, and can greatly affect social interactions with family life, work or studies. There are high unmet needs and challenges that
people face, especially in managing the disease progression. Gaining further insight into the complex science of these diseases and continuing the development of new treatment options is of critical importance,” said Dr Samir Elawady, Consultant Gastroenterology in United Medical Center in UAE.
Ulcerative colitis impacts only the colon and rectum, which is the large intestine, and is marked by ulcers (open sores). The most common symptoms of UC include abdominal discomfort and blood or pus in diarrhea. On the other hand, Crohn’s disease can impact any part of the digestive tract. Common symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fever.
Various stakeholders including governments, communities, hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry can play a collaborative role in increasing awareness about IBD in UAE and the region, and become active advocates in improving the lives of people living with ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD).