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AAN: Inflammatory Bowel Disease May Damage Nerves

Researchers find that inflammatory bowel disease patients have increased risk of two nerve diseases

MONDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with inflammatory bowel disease may have an elevated risk of nerve damage and nerve diseases, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and sensorimotor polyneuropathy, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Boston.

Francisco De Assis Gondim, M.D., of the Federal University of Ceara, Brazil, and colleagues assessed nerve function in 103 patients with inflammatory bowel disease and 51 patients with other digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis and chronic heartburn.

In patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the researchers found that sensorimotor polyneuropathy was six times as common and that neuromuscular conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome and small fiber neuropathy, were four times as common as they were in patients with other digestive disorders. They also found that both nerve diseases affected more women than men.

"Inflammatory bowel disease patients commonly suffer from several other medical conditions, like B12 deficiency and glucose intolerance," Gondim said in a statement. "These nerve conditions we have reported are often not diagnosed by their primary care physicians. People with inflammatory bowel disease who develop new symptoms, such as pain or numbness in the feet, should see a doctor."

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