Lifestyle factors may aid prevention

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A study found that certain healthy lifestyle factors may help prevent inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images
  • Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic condition that can cause many unpleasant symptoms and damage the digestive tract.
  • Researchers and medical professionals are still working to understand the best ways to treat people who experience inflammatory bowel disease.
  • A​ recent study found that adherence to specific lifestyle factors may successfully prevent many inflammatory bowel disease cases.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that can require lifelong management. Treatment can focus on the prevention and control of symptoms. Researchers are still working to understand how people can prevent IBD.

A​ study published in the BMJ journal Gut found that adherence to certain lifestyle factors may effectively prevent many inflammatory bowel disease cases.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and damage to the gastrointestinal tract. People with IBD can experience various symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea that is sometimes bloody, nausea, and vomiting. Someone’s symptoms will depend on IBD severity and the type of IBD.

N​on-study author Dr. Ioannis Economou, Gastroenterologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, explained to Medical News Today:

“Inflammatory bowel disease affects more than 3 million people in the US. It consists of two diseases, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative Colitis, which demonstrate many similarities but also significant differences. They are chronic diseases with no known cure and significant impact in the quality of life of the affected individuals. Patients are diagnosed at the most productive years of their life, with many of them being diagnosed in their childhood. They might have no symptoms when their disease is under control, but can develop multiple intestinal and extraintestinal manifestations during periods of flare.”

T​he exact cause of IBD is unknown, but researchers are continuing to study how lifestyle factors may play a role in IBD development and prevention.

T​his particular study was a prospective cohort study. Researchers wanted to see whether IBD could be prevented by modifying certain lifestyle factors. They created modifiable risk scores (MRS) for participants based on their adherence to these lifestyle factors.

F​or example, they looked at factors like smoking, body mass index (BMI), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use, and physical activity levels. They also looked at dietary factors like red meat, fruit and vegetable, and fiber intake. The specific

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