December 18, 2018 10:00 am

Crohn’s disease, colitis cases projected to rise in Canada: report

WATCH: Canada already has one of the highest rates of inflammatory bowel disease in the world, and according to a new report, that rate is expected to rise. Heather Yourex-West reports.

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A report by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has warned that cases of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Canada will soar in the coming years.

“Canada has amongst the highest rates of IBD in the world, the prevalence is roughly 0.7 per cent of the population and that means currently 270, 000 Canadians have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis,” said Dr. Gil Kaplan, a Calgary-based gastroenterologist and one of the report’s co-authors.

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According to the report’s forecasts, a full one per cent of the population — or 400,000 people — will have IBD by 2050.

Scroll down to read the full Crohn’s and Colitis Canada report.

IBD is an umbrella term used to describe Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

READ MORE: Rates of Crohn’s disease, colitis rising among Canadian children under 5

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that can effect the entire digestive system, while ulcerative colitis only effects the colon or large intestine.

“I would say the biggest challenge that we face is just the volume of people being diagnosed, our Canadian health system may not be ready for the rising burden of IBD.”

Kaplan says the medical system is already struggling to provide specialized care for IBD patients who live outside Canada’s major cities.

There are also challenges as patients age and need more complex care.

“What we’re seeing is not only our population getting older, not only do they have complications of IBD that we have to manage, but we’re also seeing complications of aging like diabetes and cardiovascular disease that we have to care for.”

READ MORE: More Canadians living with inflammatory bowel disease than anywhere else in the world: study

While the exact cause of IBD remains unknown, there are some hypotheses, including lack of sunlight, high rates of vitamin D deficiency, diet and migration patterns.

Watch: November is Crohn’s and Colitis awareness month. The prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease is greater in Nova Scotia than any other province in Canada with approximately 1 in 83 people being diagnosed. (Nov. 13, 2018)

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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