Diverticulitis is on the Rise in the U.S

diverticulitis on the riseDiverticulitis is a disabling colon problem accompanied most often by pain, obstruction and fever. This condition became more common in the US from the late 1990’s to mid 2000’s, a Minnesota county study suggests. Dr. Adil E. Bharucha of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota claims incidents of diverticulitis have gone up 50% since 2000. The increase is biggest in the younger population, which causes alarm. Diverticula, small pouches along the large intestine, become more common with age. Diverticulitis, however, is the infection of these pouches. According to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, half of all people in the U.S. over age 60, and nearly everyone over the age of 80 has diverticula in their colon. But why the increase the past 15 years or so? We’ve put together some reasons we believe may contribute:

Obesity is on the Rise

Obesity may be one risk factor for the condition, and obesity itself has been on the rise in the past 15 years or so as well. Studies find that more than one-third of adults are now considered obese. Significant stress is put on the body’s vital organs which can cause the pouches on the colon to flare up, leading to infections.

Low Fiber Intake

Marketing-based junk food is at an all-time high. There’s no escaping from it. These foods, such as sugary cereals, breads, ice creams, breakfast foods, etc. lack many nutrients our body needs. One of these is fiber. “Traditionally, low intake of dietary fiber has been implicated as a cause of diverticulitis,” adds Dr. Bharucha. Junk foods comes in all forms, like mentioned above, even in nuts and seeds forms. Though not proven, chips, nuts, and seeds have been linked to cause flare-ups in those with diverticula.

Smoking/Lack of Exercise

This, like obesity, is a major risk factor for countless diseases. Diverticulitis is one of them. Lack of exercise and smoking prevent the body from fighting off infections, and contribute to obesity, one of the leading causes of diverticulitis. The development of diseases Is proven to develop more rapidly in smokers.