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Can Having IBD Shorten Your Life?
  • Robert Preidt
  • Posted November 9, 2020

Can Having IBD Shorten Your Life?

People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) live longer than they used to, but still die at a younger age than those without the condition, a new study out of Canada finds.

IBD includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. People with IBD often have inflammation beyond the intestinal tract. They have an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, arthritis and other conditions, the researchers noted.

For the new study, the investigators analyzed data on nearly 33,000 people living with IBD in 1996 -- a pool that grew to nearly 84,000 by 2011. Those people were compared to more than 163,000 without IBD in 1996 and more than 418,000 in 2011.

Between 1996 and 2011, average life expectancy for women with IBD rose nearly three years (from 75.5 to 78.4 years). Among men with IBD, it rose 3.2 years (from 72.2 to 75.5 years).

But people with IBD had consistently shorter life expectancy than others, the study found.

Women with IBD can expect to live 6.6 to 8.1 years less than those without IBD, while men with IBD live 5 to 6.1 years less than those without IBD, the researchers said.

In addition, health-adjusted life expectancy among women with IBD is 9.5 to 13.5 years shorter than among those without IBD, and 2.6 to 6.7 years shorter among men with IBD than those without IBD, the investigators found.

The report was published Nov. 9 in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"The good news is life expectancy has increased in people with IBD, but there is still a gap between people with and without the disease," said Dr. Eric Benchimol, a pediatric gastroenterologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto.

"However, people with IBD suffer from pain, which can negatively affect daily functioning and contribute to decreased health-adjusted life expectancy," Benchimol said in a journal news release.

Study lead author Dr. Ellen Kuenzig said finding ways to manage IBS pain is a major issue.

"In light of the increasing prevalence of IBD in Canada, and the frequency of pain in patients with IBD and its impact on health-related quality of life, we need to develop better pain-management strategies," said Kuenzig, a postdoctoral fellow at the research organization ICES and the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa.

More information

For more on IBD, go to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

SOURCE: CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), news release, Nov. 9, 2020

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