A new report from Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has revealed that the number of people in Canada with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is increasing rapidly and is projected to reach 470,000 by 2035. This is the main finding of the national health charity’s report on the impact of IBD in Canada, which was unveiled last week. In the report, the organisation has called for immediate action to be taken to improve the wellbeing of individuals living with the condition.
According to the report, 322,600 people, or 0.8% of Canada’s population, are expected to be diagnosed with IBD this year. This figure is projected to rise to 1.1% by 2035. The incidence of IBD in children under the age of six is increasing at a particularly rapid rate. However, older Canadians are experiencing the fastest growth rate in diagnosed cases of IBD. The report notes that people with low socioeconomic status, residents of rural, remote, and Northern communities and Indigenous people face additional barriers to care.
As the number of people living with IBD in Canada continues to rise, healthcare needs to evolve to include multidisciplinary care, including access to specialist doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, dieticians and others to improve quality of life, according to Dr. Gilaad Kaplan, a professor of medicine, adult gastroenterologist and epidemiologist at the University of Calgary and co-chair of the report. Dr. Eric Benchimol, the other co-chair of the report, and a professor of pediatrics and clinical epidemiology at the University of Toronto, added that the incidence of psychiatric disorders is 1.5 to two times more common in people with IBD, and youth with IBD are nearly twice as likely to receive a psychiatric diagnosis as those who do not.
IBD describes a group of autoimmune diseases affecting the digestive system, which can cause inflammation, ulcers, and bleeding in the bowels, among other symptoms. The two main forms of the disease are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD is classified as a distinct disease from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which does not lead to visible inflammation or ulcers in the bowel.
The report highlights the need to use financial and healthcare resources as effectively as possible, and since 2016, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has been working on its PACE network project, which brings together leading Canadian hospital centres to develop best practices to help patients. Lori Radke, CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, said that within the next two years, she hopes to see these pilot innovations being rolled out across Canada to help improve patient care.
In conclusion, the report on the impact of IBD in Canada highlights the increasing number of individuals living with the condition and the need for multidisciplinary care to improve quality of life. The report also identifies additional barriers to care faced by individuals with low socioeconomic status, those living in rural, remote, and Northern communities and Indigenous people. While healthcare providers presently need to devote more attention to the wellbeing of those with IBD, the PACE network project remains a positive development that is expected to bring significant benefits to patients across the country.