IBD: Chronic Inflammatory Diseases of the Intestine

IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease, includes two main entities: ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease.

In France, it is estimated that more than 200, 000 people have IBD and 2.5 million in Europe.

Crohn's disease can occur at any age, but a peak frequency is observed in young adults between 20 and 30 years of age. France, compared to other European countries, has a high incidence of Crohn's disease (8.2 per 100, 000 inhabitants). A North-South gradient exists with a higher incidence in the northern third compared to the south of France.

Crohn's disease can reach the entire digestive tract from the mouth to the anus intermittently, while ulcerative colitis always starts in the rectum and extends more or less continuously to the colon.

RCH (ulcerative colitis) affects young people. It appears mainly between 30 and 40 years. Before the age of 17 there is a male predominance for Crohn's disease and female for the RCH. This predominance is reversed later. France is characterized in Europe by a low incidence of RCH (7.2 per 100, 000 inhabitants). There is no North-South gradient in France for UC as opposed to Crohn's disease.

These two pathologies are characterized by hyperactivity of the digestive immune system responsible for inflammation of the digestive tract. They evolve by more or less severe outbreaks interspersed with periods of remission.

Infographic: some figures on IBD

Author: Dr. Julia ROUX, Gastroenterologist

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