Inflammatory bowel disease leads to damage and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. This chronic condition may cause different symptoms, such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. Signs can vary, depending on the type and severity.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the two main types of inflammatory bowel disease. It is still unclear what causes this condition.
As a chronic condition, inflammatory bowel disease needs long-term treatment to manage the symptoms, which may have damaging effects on daily life.
A recent study in the BNJ journal Gut has found that making some lifestyle changes would help prevent many cases of inflammatory bowel disease.
In this prospective cohort study, scientists changed some lifestyle factors, such as body mass index, smoking, levels of physical activity, and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to see how they help prevent inflammatory bowel disease. Diet factors, such as fiber, veggies, and fruit, as well as red meat consumption, are also examined.
Based on the results, they set up modifiable risk scores. In addition, healthy lifestyle scores were given to each participant based on how well they adhered to a healthy lifestyle.
The analysis suggested that low risk scores would prevent approximately 44 percent of ulcerative colitis and 43 percent of Crohn’s disease cases. Moreover, leading a healthy lifestyle would further prevent around 42 percent of ulcerative colitis and 61 percent of Crohn’s disease cases.
It is essential to know that a direct causal relationship is assumed between dietary and lifestyle factors and the risk of inflammatory bowel disease.
Despite the promising results, the research still had some drawbacks. Firstly, the participants’ average age of diagnosis with inflammatory bowel disease was older than when the condition normally shows up. Therefore, making lifestyle changes would not be so effective in preventing cases with early onsets, which would be more linked to genetic factors.
In addition, the authors did not examine other important factors for the development of inflammatory bowel diseases, such as stress, socioeconomic status, and pollution.
Further research should use a larger sample by including more people from non-Western nations. More data should be collected as well to help identify a causal relationship between inflammatory bowel disease and lifestyle factors.
If the findings in this study are correct, it indicates that following a healthy lifestyle and diet would be effective in preventing ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. However, more studies should be done in the future to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach.