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Effects of IBD Beyond the Gut – What Other Health Problems IBD Can Cause?

While inflammatory bowel diseases are the conditions of the digestive system, they can also put you at a higher risk for certain other health problems. This is why healthcare experts place a huge emphasis on taking a proactive approach towards the management of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Let’s take a look at how IBD can affect other parts of the body to develop a better understanding of the disease;

· Joint Pain

Joint pain is the most common health issue people with IBD suffer from. However, many people couldn’t associate the two conditions because the joint pain often starts much before they’re diagnosed with IBD.

The good news is that the joint pain that’s associated with inflammatory bowel diseases doesn’t damage your joints. It also usually goes away on its own once your IBD is controlled.

Since many people do not know that their joint pain is due to IBD, they end up taking NSAIDs for pain relief, which makes their IBD worse. Therefore, always talk to your doctor before taking an NSAID drug (or any drug per see).

· Weak Bones

Inflammation of the digestive tract can cause poor absorption of nutrients, which then can lead to the deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. This, when coupled with poor food choices, inactive lifestyle, and certain medications, puts people with IBD at very high risk for bone fractures and osteoporosis. The risk increases with age.

An important point to note here is that even though the ratio of osteoporosis is generally high in women, IBD-related osteoporosis affects both women and men equally.

Patients of IBD with weak bones are prescribed essential vitamins and calcium supplements along with recommendations for certain lifestyle changes. These primarily include quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, and incorporate physical activity into a daily routine.

· Eye Conditions

IBD patients that are over 40 are at significantly high risk for developing eye issues, with episcleritis being the most common. It involves the inflammation of episclera, the thin, clear layer over the white area of the eyes and causes redness, irritation, burning, and sensitivity. Episcleritis doesn’t always require treatment as it goes away naturally as your inflammatory bowel disease improves.

IBS can also cause scleritis and uveitis, causing the inflammation of the white part of the eye (called sclera) and the middle tissue layer in the eyewall, respectively. If not treated, these eye conditions can put you at the risk of vision loss.

These are the three major health issues an inflammatory bowel disease can cause outside the gut. IBD is a progressive disease. It’s also incurable, so the only option you’re left with is to keep it under control. Whether you’re suffering from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, make sure to stay in touch with your doctor and follow their recommendations religiously to prevent flare-ups and live a healthy life.

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