The Malta Independent 9 June 2023, Friday
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World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day

Thursday, 12 May 2022, 11:25 Last update: about 2 years ago

May 19, for some it is their birthday, for many it is just a normal day.  However, yearly, on this date falls World IBD Day.  Many are now asking, what is IBD?  The abbreviation stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  IBD groups mainly the two chronic illnesses Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which directly affect the digestive system and cause intestinal tissue to become inflamed, from sores and bleed easily.  In layman's terms, anywhere from the mouth to the anus, can become inflamed, which causes a number of symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue and sometimes fever.

Worldwide there are over 5 million people diagnosed with these chronic diseases, with higher numbers in the western world.  So far there is no known cure for the disease, although many researchers work to find a cure.  There is neither a known cause for the disease, which splits experts in the medical profession to form the opinion that it is a mix between genetics and dietary habits.  There is little public understanding of the pain and chronic suffering which IBD patients courageously cope with every day of their lives.

Raising awareness about IBD is imperative both for patients and others alike.  The more the public is aware, the more understanding and support patients will find from family, friend and even colleagues at work.  For some, who experience severe flare-ups, it is hard for them to hold down a job, with little financial help, since the disease is not a recognized disability. 

Unfortunately, the Malta Association for Crohn's and Colitis (MACC) has for the past 2 years of the pandemic refrained from holding face to face activities due to the vulnerability of their members.  We hope to be able to hold such events soon, and raise more awareness regarding IBD in Malta.  On a European level this year, the European Federation of Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis Associations (EFCCA), have launched the campaign 'IBD has no age' thinking of patients of all ages from children to elderly, with focus on the elderly community. Although we know there is always more that can be done, we are grateful of the progress done so far in the medical field, which allow most patients to live an almost 'normal' life.


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