I recognize World IBD Day on May 19th because more than 5 million people worldwide are living with an inflammatory bowel disease, myself included. Around 1.4 million of those people live here in the US. Considering these numbers, I am always surprised at the lack of knowledge out there.
If find that most anytime I tell someone that I have Crohn’s disease, they more often than not answer with something like, “Oh, my ______ has that” (fill in the blank with cousin, friend, aunt, etc.), but they often don’t know much more than that. Chances are, you know someone who is affected with one of these diseases. I may be that person for a number of you out there.
IBD is one of the five most prevalent gastrointestinal disease burdens in the United States, with an overall health care cost of more than $1.7 billion. This chronic condition is without a medical cure and commonly requires a lifetime of care. Each year in the United States, IBD accounts for more than 700,000 physician visits, 100,000 hospitalizations, and disability in 119,000 patients. Over the long term, up to 75% of patients with Crohn’s disease and 25% of those with ulcerative colitis will require surgery. (from the CDC)
I am saddened to think of the many people out there who suffer in silence, with no one they can turn to who can understand. That was me for many years. I tried to live as normally as possible, but that’s a lot to shoulder all by your self. I feel very blessed to have such a great family of IBDers out there who I can turn to for advice, sympathy and always some good butt jokes.
Simply today, I want to remind you of those who deal with these diseases daily. Remember your grandmother, your uncle, your friend who have to live with the symptoms such as pain, diarrhea, fatigue, cramping and blood loss. Educate yourself and be a part of the push for a cure. These people need your support. Let them know that you are standing behind them. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is a great resource to learn about the diseases and how you can get involved to help find a cure.
Who do you support on World IBD Day?