WATCH ABOVE: New research has found more kids are being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and colitis. Usually these diseases first strike teens and young adults but as Heather Yourex-West reports, more and more diagnoses are being made among children under 5.
New research has revealed that pediatric cases of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are rising in Canada, particularly among children under the age of 5.
“It used to be unheard of to see a child under five years old. It was very, very rare 20 years ago, but now we’re seeing it more often,” said Dr. Eric Benchimol, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Overall, the number of children under 16 living with IBD in Canada rose from 29 per 100,0000 in 1999, to 46 per 100, 000 in 2008 — an increase of almost 60 per cent.
New cases in children under the age of five increased the most, at a rate of about 7.2 per cent per year.
“We know that early life exposure to environmental risk factors – things like early antibiotics use, living in a city, potentially lack of sunlight exposure, potentially some dietary changes – seems to increase the risk of developing IBD,” said Benchimol.
According to Benchimol, though, there is some good news — kids who are diagnosed with IBD early in life tend to respond better to treatments and require surgery less often.
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