Inflammatory bowel disease in older adults. Does age influence the diagnosis?

by Sarita Shrestha

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) consists of a group of disorders that involves lifelong inflammation in the digestive tract (mouth to anus). The main types of IBD include Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis that normally develop in young adulthood. Recent evidence indicates that the number of older adults, above the age of 60 years, diagnosed with IBD is increasing.

However, the underlying explanation for this observation is unknown. Most evidence on the disease diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and management is based on the studies from the younger adults. This leads to misdiagnosis and treatment delays for many older patients with IBD. The overall aim of the project is to explore whether the age influences the immune mediated manifestation of IBD.

Study-I of my thesis aim to determine whether the information on International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes registered in the Swedish national patient register (NPR) can be used to predict subgroups of IBD such as those affected by the disease later in life.

Prevalence of multiple life-long illnesses and extraintestinal manifestations when IBD affects other organs such as the skin and eyes has not yet been explored. Thus, the total number of people with the existing diseases in relation to genetic makeup, shared environmental factors and inflammation will be explored in studyII-IV of my thesis. We will make use of secondary data from the national patient registers in Sweden and Denmark. By conducting these studies, we attempt to facilitate the accurate diagnosis and identify risk factors related to the disease. It will help to promote health and develop policies for prevention of IBD in older adults.



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