Abstract

The Natural History of IBD: Lessons Learned

Weimers P1, Munkholm P2. Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol. 2018 Jan 23. doi: 10.1007/s11938-018-0173-3. [Epub ahead of print]
 
     

Author information

1 Department of Gastroenterology, North Zealand University Hospital, Frederikssundsvej 30, 3600, Frederikssund, Denmark. malin.petra.ulfsdotter.weimers.01@regionh.dk.

2 Department of Gastroenterology, North Zealand University Hospital, Frederikssundsvej 30, 3600, Frederikssund, Denmark.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which include Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), are chronic, relapsing diseases with unknown etiologies. The purpose of this review is to present the natural disease course evidenced in the latest epidemiology data.

RECENT FINDINGS: The prevalence of IBD is rapidly increasing, affecting five million patients worldwide with the highest incidence observed in Northern Europe and Northern America. It has been shown that both CD and UC patients are at an increased risk for developing cancer of the gastrointestinal tract compared to the general population. Though the disease course of IBD is unpredictable, the rate of surgical treatment has declined potentially as a consequence of the introduction of immunomodulators and new biologic treatment options. Treatments with biological agents and/or immunosuppressive drugs as well as disease monitoring with eHealth devices seem to have a positive impact on the disease course. However, long-term follow-up studies are still lacking and therefore no reliable conclusions can be drawn as of yet. Medical compliance is paramount in the treatment of IBD, and continuous research focusing on approaches that increase compliance is also necessary.

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