Crohn’s disease can increase the risk of heart attack.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are both medical conditions characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the term used to refer to all the medical conditions under its umbrella, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. It is estimated that nearly three million people suffer from IBD in the United States alone.
A new study, done at the University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, has found a link between IBD and the development of heart disease and an increased risk of heart attack. The basis for the study was the long-standing belief that the development of heart disease is linked to increased inflammation. The study looked at over 22 million patients over the course of three years.
The researchers found that heart attacks were almost twice as frequent in patients suffering from a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the gastrointestinal tract. These results may be linked to the increased prevalence of risk factors related to heart attacks in patients with IBD, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking. After accounting for these factors, as well as age, sex, and race, the researchers found that patients with IBD had a 23 percent higher chance of having a heart attack than patients without IBD.
The highest risk category for heart attacks was discovered to be female patients with IBD who were less than 40 years old. IBD is generally diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 30. Being female and being diagnosed with IBD at a young age was associated with increased levels of inflammation than in older IBD patients. IDB is also believed to be much more aggressive in these conditions.
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