10 Things You Need To Know About IBD

It’s World IBD Day today, and I thought it would be great for others to gain an understanding of what we are trying to raise awareness of today. There are plenty of reasons as to why you should care about World IBD Day. But these 10, could just be the reasons that lead you to saving somebody’s life, lifestyle or mentality. These are the reasons I feel are most important to those that aren’t completely educated on what a life with IBD is like.

Please take in the 10 points below, the points that tell you things you need to know, and how we can help people suffering. Just think about them. Think about yourself or a family member being a sufferer, put yourself in these vulnerable positions. Because it can happen to anyone.

1. You could be at risk of IBD. Anyone can develop IBD – and at least 261,000 people are affected by Ulcerative Colitis (146,000) and Crohn’s Disease (115,000) in the UK – Although recently published data suggest that this could be as many as 620,000.

2. Your age doesn’t keep you safe. The illnesses can occur at any age, but often begin in younger people aged 10-40.

3. It is NOT a “sickness bug”. IBD is a chronic (long term) disease and if you have IBD you will probably have periods of good health (remission) and then relapses or ‘flare-ups’ when the symptoms get worse. It is more than just “sickness and diarrhea” IBD consists of symptoms such as extreme abdominal pain, diarrhea which in UC is frequently mixed with blood. Extreme tiredness, fatigue, weight loss, abscesses and fistulas, swollen joints, mouth ulcers, anemia, liver, skin and eye problems.

4. Ignoring the symptoms can risk a persons life. Educate yourself on IBD, because it could be your life at risk. Like me, your symptoms could be fobbed off as “women’s troubles”. Being ignored for so long left me hours from death with my large bowel nearly purfurating. I was admitted into theatre for emergency surgery and given an ileostomy. Had somebody recognised my illness sooner, it most likely would have been dealt with by using medication.

5. The hospital could become your second home. Most people dislike the hospital right? IBD causes a range of flare ups. Some so bad that leave you taking your holidays in the hospital. Whether you have IBD or an Ostomy, there are frequent problems that you face over your life time. Some that cannot be kept at bay with medication.

6. IBD is one of the biggest causes of loneliness. Having IBD can become very lonely and very mentally scarring, as people that don’t understand put it down to overreacting and laziness. You feel isolated within your own body. Scared that people will sigh in annoyance at your complaints. That they won’t believe you have a chronic illness. Which really hurts, because to have to live with an illness that nobody believes to be real can leave people such as myself, hours from death.

7. There is a stigma around IBD. By showing support on this day, World IBD Day, you are helping to end the stigma. YOU are enforcing a breakthrough to a subject that is so taboo. You are telling hundreds of thousands of people that it’s okay. Encouraging them to speak out. Engaging in the positivity that our society has to offer.

8. You could save someone, in a number of ways. By donating a small amount to this cause, you could be saving a life, a mental illness or a lifestyle. Small amounts add up a large amount. And these amounts are being spent on the correct resources to give people with IBD the right support, equipment for further research into a cure for the illness, or a personal grant for someone in need.

The right support means the right information. Where people are able to acknowledge and deal with their illness – before it gets too late.

9. IBD cost’s people their jobs. Gaining an understanding of IBD will show you that we can still work, and we can still earn a living. It is so easy to disregard somebodies work ability because of their illness. If you apply for a job, it means you want it. It means you believe you are fit for that job. So why should informing an employer of your illness lessen your chances of earning a living?

10. You CAN help. Opening up your eyes to a terrible illness that effects a great deal of the population will help others by giving them the strength to speak out. By gaining more of an understanding, you are accepting. You are acknowledging the fact that there is more than what meets the eye.

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Please watch below, my contribution to raising awareness on World IBD Day.

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