What Are the Risk Factors for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

What Are the Risk Factors for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

What Are the Risk Factors for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

• Age and gender. Although inflammatory bowel disease can affect any age group, the incidence of the disease is most common at age 15–35. The average ages of individuals afflicted with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are 34.9 and 29.5, respectively. Although the incidence rate of inflammatory bowel disease is similar between men and women, men at age 50–60 are more susceptible to inflammatory bowel disease compared to women.

• Family and genetics. Both parents suffering from inflammatory bowel disease increases your risk of the disease by 36%. NOD2/CARD15 gene polymorphic variants are linked to Crohn's disease. About 20% of Crohn's disease patients in the US and Europe carry NOD2/CARD15 gene variants.

• Childhood infection. Inflammatory bowel disease is considered an autoimmune disorder. Children who grew up in a not-so-clean environment were found to have a stronger immune system compared to children who grew up in a clean environment. Studies have shown that children who lived in a clean environment had a higher incidence of inflammatory bowel disease compared to children who lived in a not-so-clean environment. Bacterial infections early in life seemed to boost the immune system. For example, Helicobacter pylori infections are common during childhood. Individuals infected by Helicobacter pylori in childhood were found to be less likely to suffer from inflammatory bowel disease in adulthood.

• Vaccination. Measles viruses can live parasitically in the human digestive tract and bring on inflammatory bowel disease. People who received measles vaccinations in the 1960s have had an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

• Antibiotics. Antibiotics alter bacterial flora living in the digestive tract. Frequent use of antibiotics during childhood increases the risk of inflammatory bowel disease.

• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAID medications, such as naproxen and ibuprofen, can induce ulcerative damage to the mucous cell layer of the stomach, small intestines, and large intestines. NSAIDs also inhibit cyclooxygenase enzymes that support the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are lipid mediators that regulate immune functions. Inhibition of prostaglandin production increases the risk of inflammatory bowel disease.

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