Ulcerative Colitis
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Know More About Ulcerative Colitis

 Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disorder affecting the colon and rectum for a long time to cause ulceration. If present for many years, Ulcerative colitis can lead to bowel cancer. It can also lead to arthritis, erythema nodosum and eye disorders (uveitis). Ulcerative colitis can be seen affecting around one in 160 people. The disease is often seen in Caucasians, mainly those of Jewish descent. The first sign of the disease is seen between 15 and 35 years of age. The disease is seen to run in families and also found in non-smokers and ex-smokers.

The incidence of ulcerative colitis in North America is 10-12 cases per 100,000, with a peak incidence of ulcerative colitis occurring between the ages of 15 and 25. There is thought to be a bimodal distribution in age of onset, with a second peak in incidence occurring in the 6th decade of life. The disease affects females more than males.[10]

There are a high incidence of ulcerative colitis in the US, Canada, the UK and Scandinavia. The incidence is more in the northern locations than in the the southern regions of US and Europe.

Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

 The right cause of having Ulcerative colitis is not known and that makes it difficult to stop the disease. Many interrelated causes have been thought to be responsible for having the disease. It is sometimes seen that a small illness kicks off the disease. The disease is seen as a result of combination of genes. Genetically, multiple autoimmune disorders are seen in patients having ulcerative colitis. Patient having families with porphyries and autoimmune disorders should be taken care of with potential porphyrinogenic drugs.

Environmental factors have also been seen to be responsible as contributors to the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis. It is seen that some food may actually encourage the inflammation of the colon. A diet which is low in fermentable fiber is seen to help in colitis incidence. There are reports of the protective effect of breastfeeding in the inflammation of colon. It has also been reported that Accutane could be responsible for triggering Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative colitis.

It has been reported that ulcerative colitis is a type of autoimmune disease where there is malfunctioning of the immune system, resulting in its appearance in different parts of the body. Another theory suggests that the sulfate-reducing bacteria level is seen more in ulcerative colitis persons. Hence there could be higher levels of hydrogen sulfide seen in the intestine of the person. Some believe that the toxic effects of the hydrogen sulphide on the intestinal cell lining could be responsible for having the disease.

Symptoms Of Ulcerative Colitis

People with Ulcerative colitis show symptoms of the disease intermittently. It could show up within months or it could be years to appear. In its mild attack, the person develops the symptoms within few days. These include diarrhea, often with blood and mucus, abdominal pain, tiredness and poor appetite. In its severe form, the symptoms could be seen suddenly to appear many times a day. There are blood and mucus passing along with fever, swelling, abdominal pain and loss of weight. One of the fatal complications of the disease is inflammation and swelling of the colon which is known as mega colon. This might lead to bowel perforation.

Ulcerative Colitis Treatment

Treatments for ulcerative colitis include drugs that stop the attacks of the disease and prevent diarrhea as well as reduce inflammation and the need for surgery. The treatment for ulcerative colitis is done after knowing the extent of severity of the disease. The course followed while treating the disease is to bring remisison first with proper medications and then give maintenance medications so that the disease does not relapse. The remission and maintenance of the disease is crucial for proper treatment of the disease. Sometimes both the method of treatments overlaps, but each takes its own course.

The main drug used to treat mild to moderate ulcerative colitis has been Sulfasalazine. But in 1977, 5-aminosalicylic acid was developed which was found the cure the disease without the side effects of sulfasalazine.

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