TORONTO, Nov. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - Imagine experiencing agonizing and
debilitating pain that lasts for hours, months and even a year without
a Doctor or Medical Practitioner being able to diagnose the cause.
Imagine having up to 20 bowel movements, or false "urges" a day, yet
still remaining undiagnosed. Imagine the impact on your work, the
depression and anxiety that can result during an active flare of
inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These are just a few of the painful
revelations that have been revealed in a recent survey of Canadians
living with IBD, carried out by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of
The survey, which polled more than 500 IBD sufferers during the fall of
2011, found that early diagnosis is key to ensuring less suffering and
better long-term health for the estimated one in 160 Canadians living
with Crohn's or colitis. In addition, lack of awareness about IBD among
both the public and medical profession, has resulted in lengthy
diagnosis waiting times.
An overwhelming 71 per cent of respondents waited for more than six
months for a diagnosis after experiencing symptoms;
Nearly half of respondents (45 per cent) waited for more than one year
for a diagnosis;
The majority of respondents (62 per cent) expressed that early diagnosis
would have benefited their overall long term health.
Inflammatory bowel disease is comprised of Crohn's disease and
ulcerative colitis: two similar, yet distinct, conditions which cause
intestinal tissue to become inflamed, form sores and bleed easily. Both
Crohn's and colitis can flare up (an acute attack) at unpredictable
times, and flare-up can last from days to months at a time.
During a flare-up, patients suffer from symptoms including abdominal
pain, cramping, fatigue, frequent and urgent diarrhea and bloody
stools. Additional symptoms include nausea, bloating, anaemia, joint
pain, canker sores in the mouth, skin and eye irritations and weight
More than 200,000 Canadians - an estimated one in 160 - live with IBD.
More common than Multiple Sclerosis or HIV and about as common as
Epilepsy, Canada has among the highest rates of Crohn's disease and
ulcerative colitis in the world and there is no cure, no known cause,
and little public understanding of the pain, chronic suffering and
isolation IBD patients courageously cope with every day of their lives.
The cost to Canada's economy is on average more than $9,000 per year
"November is Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Month and we want to help
more individuals and Medical Practitioners identify Crohn's and colitis
symptoms earlier," says Dr. Kevin Glasgow, CCFC's Chief Executive
Officer. "People living with IBD too often face their conditions in
silence and we want to encourage patients to speak up about their
symptoms so that we can work towards quicker diagnosis times and
Crohn's & Colitis: Common Diseases, Few Speak about Them
While the search for a cure continues, many patients continue to face
their conditions in silence, afraid to venture away from home, cutting
off the possibility of many great experiences.
During an active flare-up of the disease, 86 per cent of sufferers have
more than five bowel movements or "false urges" a day, and 14 per cent
of those have more than 20 per day;
During an active flare-up of the disease, 44 per cent of sufferers
described their pain as agonizing and debilitating or steady pain that
lasts for hours;
72 per cent of those surveyed had been hospitalized for their IBD and of
those, 55 per cent required surgery;
39 per cent of those who had surgery required an ostomy, meaning they
excrete waste into a bag though a hole in their stomachs;
64 per cent say having IBD has influenced their choice of career;
50 per cent have left or lost a job at least in part due to having IBD;
61 per cent felt having IBD has held them back from advancing in their
66 per cent experienced depression and anxiety during an active flare of
44 per cent have had an accident in public because they couldn't get to
a bathroom in time.
Perhaps most troubling, is the impact of IBD on youth. Sadly, an
overwhelming majority of youth patients have missed out on sports
activities, have had an embarrassing accident at school and have fallen
behind in their education due to their disease.
"Canada is home to many of the world leaders in IBD research, and IBD
affects millions world-wide," adds Dr. Glasgow. "I encourage every
Canadian to Get Gutsy this November by learning about IBD and realizing
that together we can make a positive difference in the lives of many
thousands of Canadians."
Get the Facts: IBD 101
Crohn's disease cannot be cured by drugs or surgery, although both are
proving to be helpful in relieving symptoms such as abdominal pain,
cramping, fatigue and frequent urgent diarrhea. To help reduce the
feeling of isolation experienced by people living with IBD and to help
raise awareness about this chronic disease, the CCFC urges Canadians to
familiarize themselves with the burden of IBD and its symptoms.
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the two most common forms of
Most people are diagnosed by the age of 30, and many will experience
periods of remission and flare-ups, often requiring long-term
medication, hospitalization or surgery;
The main difference between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis is
that Crohn's can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from
the mouth to the anus, causing patches of inflammation. Colitis affects
only the inner layer of the colon, or large bowel, and always starts in
the rectum causing continuous inflammation which may spread into the
rest of the colon;
Ulcerative colitis can be completely eliminated by surgically removing
parts of the colon, but after surgery waste materials may have to be
stored and expelled through an external appliance such as a colostomy
If you, or anyone you know is experiencing IBD symptoms, please consult
with your medical physician immediately.
Get Gutsy: November is Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Month
Throughout the month, the CCFC will celebrate the courage of Canadians
living with these debilitating diseases through a number of
announcements and programs, including:
Winners of the fourth-annual Gutsiest Canadians contest;
The CCFC & You Education Symposium series, occurring in 16 locations
A series of ulcerative colitis webinars co-hosted by Shire Canada and
CCFC, featuring noted gastroenterologists Dr. Hillary Steinhart and Dr.
CCFC is hosting its first national conference on clinical issues and
research related to IBD called: "Canada Future Directions in IBD" on
November 5 and 6;
Details for all Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Month activities are
online at www.getgutsymonth.ca, as well as full Impacts of IBD survey results;
Can't Wait, an iPhone and Android application that helps people find the public
bathroom closest to them in a hurry.
About the CCFC
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada is a volunteer-based
registered charity dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn's disease
and ulcerative colitis, commonly referred to as inflammatory bowel
The Foundation is committed to educating IBD patients, their families,
health professionals and the general public about the diseases.
Since its founding, CCFC has invested more than $71 million in IBD
research, making the foundation a world leader in non-governmental
funding of IBD research.
Canadian researchers funded by CCFC are conducting cutting edge research
and are sustaining the hope for a cure worldwide.
For more information about CCFC, please visit www.ccfc.ca, for more information on Crohn's and Colitis Awareness month, please
The CCFC Impacts of IBD survey was carried out online amongst a
nationally representative sample of just over 500 Canadians aged 18+.
In addition to CCFC's professional staff, CCFC has committed volunteers
and members across Canada who are willing to speak with media about
their experience with IBD. If you would like to speak with one of our
volunteers, or for more information, please contact Ive Balins or
Adriana Lurz at Strategic Objectives.
SOURCE Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC)
For further information:
Tel: (416) 366-7735. Fax: (416) 366-2295. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.