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KEY FIGURES AND PREVALENCE FOR CROHN’S DISEASE

The number of patients diagnosed with the disease is rising: it is estimated that there are 33,000 new cases each year. The disease affects more women than men, and tends to first present in the twenties.

YOUNG SUFFERERS

In the U.S., Crohn’s disease mainly affects young people. The onset of Crohn’s disease has two age peaks: the first and largest peak starts between the ages of 15-30 years; the second much smaller peak is between 60-80 years.

Crohn’s disease is becoming increasingly recognized in children of all ages and 20-30% are diagnosed before the age of 20. One study recorded a rising incidence of all forms of IBD in Scotland.For further information:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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Vaccines against Covid-19

Data from two separate studies published in the UK, one in England and another in Scotland, have shown vaccines against Covid-19 are effective in cutting disease transmission and hospitalizations from the first dose.
Analysis from Public Health England has shown the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech reduces the risk of catching infection by more than 70% after a first dose.
That risk is reduced by 85% after a second dose.
The public health body’s study of real-world data also showed vaccinated people who go on to become infected are far less likely to die or be hospitalized.
Hospitalization and death from Covid-19 are reduced by over 75% in those who have received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to the analysis.
“This crucial report shows vaccines are working — it is extremely encouraging to see evidence that the Pfizer vaccine offers a high degree of protection against coronavirus,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Britain is one of the countries hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with 120,757 deaths.
It was the first nation to begin mass vaccinations in December and more than 17 million people have now received at least a first vaccine dose, one-third of the UK’s adult population.
“We will see much more data over the coming weeks and months but we should be very encouraged by these initial findings,” said Dr. Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England.
At the same time, a study in Scotland has shown the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccinations have led to a reduction in Covid-19 admissions to hospitals after a first dose.
The study, led by the University of Edinburgh, found that by the fourth week after receiving the initial dose the Pfizer vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization from Covid by up to 85%.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine reduced the risk by 94%.
“These results are very encouraging and have given us great reasons to be optimistic for the future,” Professor Aziz Sheikh, who lead the research, said in a statement.
“We now have national evidence, across an entire country, that vaccination protects Covid-19 hospitalizations.
“Roll-out of the first vaccine dose now needs to be accelerated globally to help overcome this terrible disease,” he added.
The research compared the outcomes of those who had received their first jab with those who had not.
It found that vaccination was associated with an 81% reduction in hospitalization risk in the fourth week among those aged 80 years and over when the results for both vaccines were combined.
The project, which used patient data to track the pandemic and the vaccine roll-out in real-time, analyzed a dataset covering the entire Scottish population of 5.4 million between 8 December and 15 February.
Some 1.14 million vaccines were administered to 21% of the Scottish population during the period.
The Pfizer vaccine was received by 650,000 people in Scotland, while 490,000 had the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
It is the first research to describe the effect of vaccinations on preventing severe illness resulting in hospitalization across an entire country.
Previous results about vaccine efficacy have come from clinical trials.
The study team said the findings applied to other countries using the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.
The data reported “is extremely promising,” said Arne Akbar, the president of the British Society for Immunology.
“Although there does seem to be some difference in effectiveness levels measured across age groups, the reduction in hospitalizations for the older age groups is still impressively high,” he said.
“We now need to understand how long-lasting this protection is for one dose of the vaccine.”

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Taking Care of Your Mental Health Is a Key Piece of the puzzel to crohns disease

When you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, it’s not just your physical health that’s affected. The frequent pain, unpredictability, and worrying that comes with inflammatory bowel disease can disrupt your emotional wellbeing, too.

And that stress, in turn, can make your IBD symptoms even worse.

“It’s pretty well understood that, while stress does not cause IBD, it contributes to flares, and it can contribute to the first expression of IBD,” says Stephen Lupe, PsyD, a clinical health psychologist who specializes in digestive diseases.

That’s why taking care of your emotional wellbeing is a critical part of managing your IBD.

“A lot of patients get stuck in this cycle of putting their life on hold while they try to cope with the disease, and that tends to increase depression, increase anxiety and increase stress,” he explains.

“But we want them to know that they can have a life and the disease at the same time. There are things that we can do to help their bodies cope with these conditions.”

Mental health and IBD go hand-in-hand

Studies have found that people who have IBD are more likely to develop anxiety and depression than people who don’t have it.

“Sometimes, people who are frequently in pain start to become predictive with the pain way before it ever happens, and they’ll stop doing things in anticipation of the pain,” Dr. Lupe notes. “Maybe they’ll stop eating, or they’ll stop going out, and their lives get narrower and narrower, which a lot of times can influence the development of anxiety or depression.”

Sleep problems are also common in people who have IBD, especially during a flare, he adds.

It’s important to be aware of these risks. If you’ve lost interest in doing things you used to love, or are struggling with the day-to-day challenges of living with a chronic gut disorder, speak up and let your doctor know what’s going on. He or she is there to help.

“A lot of gastroenterologists know psychologists that they can refer patients to,” Dr. Lupe says.

Can a health psychologist help you?

If you’re already frequenting your doctor’s office, making yet another medical appointment might not be at the top of your “things I want to do” list.

But seeking help to cope with the mental and emotional aspects of the disease can be an important step in improving your quality of life and managing symptoms. Research suggests that the gut and the brain are connected through the gut-brain axis and that stress may make symptoms worse.

“My job is to talk to patients about all of the things that come along with being diagnosed with a gut condition, whether that’s stress, anxiety or depression, or the lifestyle modifications that need to happen,” Dr. Lupe says.

“We also look at things like body image issues, the stress, and fear that can sometimes come along with having to use the bathroom frequently, and even things like talking to our partners about the sexual performance after being diagnosed.”

A psychologist may recommend one of these forms of therapy:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing thinking and behavioral patterns.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy, where people learn to accept the challenges that come with their condition and focus on being present and mindful in their situation.
  • Hypnotherapy, which uses mind-body techniques to help people reach a relaxed state where they are more open to suggestions that may influence the quantity or intensity of symptoms.

Many people find additional support in the form of online or IRL support groups. “This can be very normalizing and validating to meet other people who have the same kinds of things going on in their life,” Dr. Lupe says.

But ongoing struggles with mood, stress, body image, sleep, anxiety, or coping with the day-to-day challenges of living with IBD should be addressed by a mental health professional.

“I think there’s a lot of stigmas, and a lot of patients have fear of talking about some of this other stuff that’s going on,” Dr. Lupe says. “People don’t always realize that there are things that we can do to help our bodies and minds cope so that we can have a life and keep moving forward. So make sure that you advocate for yourself and find a way to talk to someone.”

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Coronavirus Ireland: 63 further deaths and 3,569 more Covid-19 cases confirmed

A further 3,569 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in the Republic of Ireland by the Department of Health today.

There was also a further 63 Covid-19 fatalities recorded.

Five of these deaths occurred in November 2020, one of these deaths occurred in December 2020, and the remaining 56 occurred in January 2021.

The date of death for one reported death remains under investigation.

This brings the total number of cases in the state to 159,144 and the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 2,460.

Of the cases notified today:

  • 1,616 are men / 1,924 are women
  • 54pc are under 45 years of age
  • The median age is 42 years old
  • 1,119 are in Dublin, 416 in Cork, 200 in Galway, 182 in Louth, 169 in Waterford, and the remaining 1,483 cases are spread across all other counties.

As of 2pm today there are 1,770 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 172 of these in ICU. Both figures are the highest tallies ever recorded in the pandemic.

Speaking on today’s figures, CMO Dr Tony Holohan said: “We are seeing some early signs of progress with daily cases numbers and positivity rates.

“We can take some hope in them, but we have a long, long way to go. In the coming weeks ahead, we will need to draw upon our reserves of resilience from springtime as we can expect to see hospitalisations, admissions to ICU and mortality related to Covid-19 increase day on day.”

“The best way that we can all support one another now is to stay apart. Sadly, what we are seeing now is a result of the very high daily confirmed case numbers we experienced for successive weeks.

“To ensure our hospitals and loved ones remain protected, and stay alive to receive the vaccine, please continue to follow public health advice and stay home.”

This comes as healthcare workers on leave due to being a close contact of a Covid-19 case are being asked to return to work if they are asymptomatic due to the strain on the health service.

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There are currently over 7,000 HSE staff out of work, Chief Operations Officer Ann O’Connor confirmed this morning.

The INMO has today called for the government to declare a National Emergency due to the hospital crisis, as they say the health service is not coping with the surge in the disease.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, the COO said there are 14 Irish hospitals with more than 50 Covid-19 cases and six with more than 100. She said Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Limerick and Galway University Hospital are the worst hit.

Ms O’Connor said in “ordinary circumstances” the close contacts of cases would be out for 14 days, but said “that is not available to us in that instance”

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