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Unhealthy lifestyle may cause half of diverticulitis cases

Unhealthy lifestyle may cause half of diverticulitis cases
November 24, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters ) - Men’s risk for a painful inflammation of colon walls may be drastically reduced if they follow an overall healthy lifestyle, a recent US study suggests.

Diverticulitis is an inflammation of small pouches in the walls of the colon and it has become one of the most common reasons for gastrointestinal hospital admission in the United States, costing an estimated $2 billion each year, researchers write in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

“Diverticulitis is actually a very common disorder and it’s really become apparent that we need to think of ways to prevent diverticulitis given that it affects so many people,” said the study’s senior author Dr. Andrew Chan, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“To date, there really has been very little research done in this area, so we were interested in really understanding what places people at risk for diverticulitis, and what among (those risk factors) are modifiable so that we can try to advise people to do what they can to either prevent their first episode of diverticulitis or if they’ve had diverticulitis, potentially prevent a future episode,” Chan told Reuters Health by email.

The researchers analyzed data on more than 51,000 men who were between the ages of 40 and 75 in 1986 when they began participating in the Health Professionals Follow Up Study. More than 90 percent of the men were followed through the end of December 2012.