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IBD (inflammatory Bowel Disease)


Did you know Canada has the highest incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) worldwide? In Canada, 300,000 people have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (the two primary forms of IBD) and studies show that this number continues to rise.

What’s problematic about IBD isn’t just the growing number of people being diagnosed with the disease or the debilitating symptoms –abdominal pain, diarrhoea and fatigue, fever, poor nutrient absorption and intestinal bleeding. Instead, the damage often goes unnoticed when patients do not have symptoms and do not feel the need to consult a doctor. It is why IBD is often referred to as an invisible disease.

“The management of IBD is not aimed at controlling symptoms, but at controlling the disease,” says Doctors from, Professor of Medicine at the University of Calgary, Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Unit and Inflammatory Bowel Disease Educator. “When patients think about the disease, they think about their daily symptoms. When doctors think of the disease. They think of the damage caused by inflammation, a hallmark of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.”

IBD Causes Serious Damage

There is a lag. A patient may feel quite acceptable while their disease causes severe damage to the intestine and the lining of the intestine, called the mucosa. Without proper mucosa healing, which doctors call mucosal healing, this damage can lead to future flare-ups of the disease, intestinal obstructions and abscesses, hospitalizations, and risks of surgery. In extreme cases, active inflammation of the intestine can lead to cancer.

“The mucosa is an integral part of our health. “It creates a barrier between the external environment and the rest of your body and immune system. But a healthy mucosa is also important for digestion and absorption.”

So what can be done to determine if there has been scarring of the mucosa in IBD patients? The answer is both simple and challenging: a test.

Yes, some diets and apps could help control symptoms, but they are not proven to promote healing of the mucosa. The doctors explain that patients with IBD can undergo different inflammation check tests.

IBD – Systemic Inflammation

“Test options include an analysis of blood C-reactive protein levels, which is a measure of systemic inflammation, a stool sample to assess faecal calprotectin levels to check for inflammation, and ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, and computed tomography (CT) scans of the intestine. But the reference method is an endoscopic evaluation, during which a camera inserted into the end of the intestine helps us. Doctors from the University of Calgary, to see if there is any damage.”

They adds that these tests must be carried out regularly. That is, every six months to every two years, depending on the test.


“Patients focus on the symptoms because that affects their immediate quality of life. Patients do not understand the discrepancy between the absence of symptoms and the regular performance of these tests. People with IBD must play an active role in their health. Ask questions about required tests, and track their results over time. “I always tell people this is a long-term game to ensure we’re ahead of the disease. So it doesn’t escape us.”

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