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Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none. I just love the photo, I took during our vacation to this city a couple of years ago. In this site, you will find articles from my autobiography, global warming, senior citizens issues, tourism, politics in PI, music appreciation and articles about our current experiences as retirees enjoying the "snow bird" lifestyle between US and the Philippines. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Epidemic of Divertculitis in US?


During the last six months, I received news from friends, acquaintances and relatives that they have divertculitis, serious enough to have surgery. During this period, I also heard one case of pancreatic cancer and one case of colon cancer. However with three cases of divertculitis in just the last six months, I am wandering if there is an epidemic of this disease in US. So, If you have any news on this subject, please let me know. Most of you, probably do not know of this disease. Below is a short write up that I found in Wikipedia.

Diverticulitis is a common digestive disease particularly found in the large intestine. Diverticulitis develops from diverticulosis, which involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) on the outside of the colon. Diverticulitis results if one of these diverticula becomes inflamed.
Causes
The development of colonic diverticulum is thought to be a result of raised intraluminal colonic pressures. The sigmoid colon has the smallest diameter of any portion of the colon, and therefore the portion which would be expected to have the highest intraluminal pressure. The claim that a lack of dietary fiber, particularly non-soluble fiber* (also known in older parlance as "roughage") predisposes individuals to diverticular disease is supported within the medical literature.It is thought that mechanical blockage of a diverticulum, possibly by a piece of feces or food particles, leads to infection of the diverticulum.

Large bowel (sigmoid colon) showing multiple diverticula. Note how the diverticula appear on either side of the longitudinal muscle bundle (taenium).There is some evidence that a genetic component may be a causative factor. Patients often present with the classic triad of left lower quadrant pain, fever, and leukocytosis (an elevation of the white cell count in blood tests). Patients may also complain of nausea or diarrhea; others may be constipated. Less commonly, an individual with diverticulitis may present with right-sided abdominal pain. This may be due to the less prevalent right-sided diverticula or a very redundant sigmoid colon.
Symptoms
The most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain. The most common sign is tenderness around the left side of the lower abdomen. If infection is the cause, then nausea, vomiting, feeling hot while having no fever, cramping, and constipation may occur as well. The severity of symptoms depends on the extent of the infection and complications. Diverticulitis worsens throughout the day, as it starts as small pains and slowly turns into vomiting and sharp pains.
Most people with diverticulosis do not have any discomfort or symptoms; however, symptoms may include mild cramps, bloating, and constipation. Other diseases such as inflammatory bowel Disease (IBD) and stomach ulcers cause similar problems, so these symptoms do not always mean a person has diverticulosis.
Diagnosis
The differential diagnosis includes colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, ischemic colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as a number of urological and gynecological processes. Some patients report bleeding from the rectum.
Patients with the above symptoms are commonly studied with a computed tomography, or CT scan.The CT scan is very sensitive (98%) in diagnosing diverticulitis. In order to extract the most information possible about the patient's condition, thin section (5mm) transverse images are obtained through the entire abdomen and pelvis after the patient has been administered oral and intravascular contrast. Images reveal localized thickening and hyperemia (increased blood flow) involving a segment of the colon wall, with inflammatory changes extending into the fatty tissues surrounding the colon. The diagnosis of acute diverticulitis is made confidently when the involved segment contains diverticulae. CT may also identify patients with more complicated diverticulitis, such as those with an associated abscess. It may even allow for radiologically guided drainage of an associated abscess, sparing a patient from immediate surgical intervention. Other studies, such as barium enema and colonoscopy are contraindicated in the acute phase of diverticulitis due to the risk of perforation.
Treatment
An initial episode of acute diverticulitis is usually treated with conservative medical management, including bowel rest (ie, nothing by mouth), IV fluid resuscitation, and broad-spectrum antibiotics which cover anaerobic bacteria and gram-negative rods. However, recurring acute attacks or complications, such as peritonitis, abscess, or fistula may require surgery, either immediately or on an elective basis.

Upon discharge patients may be placed on a low residue diet. This low-fiber diet gives the colon adequate time to heal without needing to be overworked. Later, patients are placed on a high-fiber diet. There is some evidence this lowers the recurrence rate.

In some cases surgery may be required to remove the area of the colon with the diverticula. Patients suffering their first attack of diverticulitis are typically not encouraged to undergo the surgery, unless the case is severe. Patients suffering repeated episodes may benefit from the surgery. In such cases the risks of complications from the diverticulitis outweigh the risks of complications from surgery. Most cases of simple, uncomplicated diverticulitis respond to conservative therapy with bowel rest and antibiotics.

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