By Heather Yourex-West
A report by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has warned that cases of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Canada will soar in the coming years.
“Canada has amongst the highest rates of IBD in the world, the prevalence is roughly 0.7 per cent of the population and that means currently 270, 000 Canadians have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis,” said Dr. Gil Kaplan, a Calgary-based gastroenterologist and one of the report’s co-authors.
According to the report’s forecasts, a full one per cent of the population — or 400,000 people — will have IBD by 2050.
Scroll down to read the full Crohn’s and Colitis Canada report.
IBD is an umbrella term used to describe Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that can effect the entire digestive system, while ulcerative colitis only effects the colon or large intestine.
“I would say the biggest challenge that we face is just the volume of people being diagnosed, our Canadian health system may not be ready for the rising burden of IBD.”
Kaplan says the medical system is already struggling to provide specialized care for IBD patients who live outside Canada’s major cities.
There are also challenges as patients age and need more complex care.
“What we’re seeing is not only our population getting older, not only do they have complications of IBD that we have to manage, but we’re also seeing complications of aging like diabetes and cardiovascular disease that we have to care for.”
While the exact cause of IBD remains unknown, there are some hypotheses, including lack of sunlight, high rates of vitamin D deficiency, diet and migration patterns.