Obesity Linked to Diverticular Disease in Older Men

Obesity nearly doubles risk of diverticulitis and triples risk of diverticular bleeding

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In older men, obesity significantly increases the risks of diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding, researchers report in the January issue of Gastroenterology.

Lisa L. Strate, M.D., of the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and colleagues studied 47,228 male health professionals, aged 40 to 75, who were free of diverticular disease at baseline in 1986.

During an 18-year follow-up, the researchers observed 801 incident cases of diverticulitis and 383 incident cases of diverticular bleeding. Compared to men with a body mass index of less than 21, they found that those with a body mass index of 30 or more had a significantly increased risk of diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding (relative risks, 1.78 and 3.19, respectively). They also found that men in the highest quintiles of waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio had a significantly increased risk of diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding compared to men in the lowest quintiles.

"An association between body fat and diverticular complications has important clinical implications given the increasing prevalence of these disorders and the considerable risk of recurrent complications," the authors conclude. "Indeed, with few known modifiable risk factors, current preventative measures rely heavily on prophylactic colectomy. The link between obesity and diverticular disease may also direct future studies aimed at uncovering mechanisms of disease."

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