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More Young People Developing Diverticulitis

Higher rates of obesity may be to blame for inflamed colon condition

THURSDAY, May 6, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- More young city dwellers in the United States have acute diverticulitis than previously believed, says a University of Maryland study, and higher rates of obesity may be to blame.

The study included 100 patients with acute diverticulitis, which occurs when pouches called diverticula push through weak spots in the colon and become inflamed. Fifty of the patients were between the ages of 20 and 50 (19 of them were younger than 40), and 50 patients were over 50.

The findings show the disease is as common in younger people as it is in those who are older. The study was presented May 3 at the American Roentgen Ray Society annual meeting in Miami Beach, Fla.

"Traditionally, acute diverticulitis has been considered a disease of the over 50 year age group. Many radiologists and other physicians do not recognize that acute diverticulitis is now a disease that may occur at any age in adult life and do not consider it as a possible cause when younger adults present with abdominal pain," study co-author Dr. Barry Daly said in a prepared statement.

He and his colleagues are trying to identify why this condition is becoming more common in young people.

"We are examining the relationship between acute diverticulitis and overweight body habitus, as there appears to be a strong association between the rising incidence of acute diverticulitis in younger adults and the evolving obesity epidemic in this country," Daly said.

More information

The U.S. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse has more about diverticulitis.

SOURCE: American Roentgen Ray Society, news release, May 3, 2004
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