Monday, May 19, 2014

World IBD Day

Happy World IBD Day!! {??}

Is it weird that I now "celebrate" these off-the-wall days? Because I sure think it's weird. It's not exactly a celebration, but I do at least recognize these days now. Funny how that goes. 

The good thing about these days is that it helps raise awareness. I didn't have a clue what an Irritable Bowel Disease {IBD} was until I was diagnosed with one. And because not many people know a ton about it, there's just not as concentrated an effort on finding a cure. This world is filled with disease, many a lot worse than my own, so it has definitely made me more mindful of those suffering with physical ailments.

So here's my little bullet-point PSA on something that I {and 5 million others across the globe} live with...
  • IBD is a condition that causes chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal {GI} tract, an abnormal immune system reaction
  • The two most common IBD's are Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
  • UC was first described in 1875; CD was first described in 1932
  • CD can affect all areas of the digestive tract; UC only affects the colon, rectum, and anus
  • Symptoms of IBD: persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, rectal bleeding, and fatigue
  • While most patients experience these symptoms, no two IBD's are alike; meaning, the disease and treatment are different for everyone
  • A "flare" is used to describe the active state {with symptoms} of the disease
  • IBD affects both men and women equally, and it can run in families
  • Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 30
  • There is no cure or known cause for IBD, so treating IBD has been likened to playing darts without a bull's eye {fun, right?}
  • The goal of medical treatment for IBD is to achieve remission
  • About 70% of people with Crohn's will eventually require surgery; after 30 years with the disease, 1/3 of people with UC will require surgery
  • People with IBD have a higher risk of colorectal cancer, blood clots, stroke, heart attack, osteoporosis, depression
For more detailed information, check out this helpful factbook from CCFA. #nerdalert   :)

Even typing out this list kind of makes me shudder a bit, just remembering the reality of this disease. But I am also very thankful. That I was diagnosed before my Crohn's was too severe. That I have a doctor that I like and trust. That I live in a time and place that offers some level of medical treatment. That I do not face this disease alone; that I have a community of family and friends who provide prayers and encouragement. And that I have the hope of one day being disease-free, with a new body, in the presence of my beautiful Savior.

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