Inflammatory bowel disease in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to disorders that cause chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. The two most common types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are typical of other illnesses and diseases and can vary from person to person. A survey from 2017 found that 57 percent of IBD patients in the U.S. stated they had been misdiagnosed before receiving their current IBD diagnosis. Symptoms of IBD include diarrhea, stomach pain and cramping, bleeding ulcers, weight loss, and fatigue. In 2017, 85 percent of IBD patients reported experiencing fatigue, while 81 percent had abdominal cramps/pain, and 64 percent had arthritis/swollen joints.

In 2015-2016, there were over three million adults living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis in the United States, 1.2 million of whom were men and 1.9 million women. At this time, IBD was slightly higher in the Northeast and South than in other regions of the U.S. IBD is also more common among non-Hispanic whites than other ethnicities, with 1.4 percent of this population diagnosed with IBD in 2015-2016, compared to just 0.6 percent of non-Hispanic blacks.

The first step in treatment for IBD includes the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, usually followed by immune suppressants and antibiotics. As of 2016, there were 58 medicines in development in the U.S. to treat IBD. If drug therapy fails to help with IBD, then surgery might be necessary. A recent survey found that 58 percent of Crohn’s disease patients stated they had surgical procedures to treat their IBD, compared to 17 percent of those with ulcerative colitis. Although the exact cause of IBD remains unknown, genetics is known to play a role, and a healthy diet, exercise and not smoking tobacco may help prevent such diseases.

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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the U.S. - Important statistics

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