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DIVERTICULAR DISEASE

Diverticular disease is a condition that is related to the digestive tract and affects the large intestine of the body. Diverticular disease occurs due to the bulging of the pockets that develop in the intestinal lining. Dicerticular disease and diverticulitis are related to digestive conditions. This is a common condition that occurs due the ageing of the muscles that make up the wall of the colon or large intestine of the body.

Most of the people do not develop any pain or symptoms for diverticular disease. However, a few of them experience a few signs and symptoms. The condition in which people suffering with diverticular disease, do not experience any signs and symptoms are called as diverticulosis.

Diverticular disease consists of three conditions which include the inflammation of pockets or small sacs that are developed in the lining of the colon. This condition is known as diverticulitis. Diverticula is the development of bulges or pockets in the lining of the large intestine. Diverticulosis is the condition in which the small sacs and bulges are developed but the person suffering with this condition does not experience any signs and symptoms.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Most of the people suffering from diverticulosis have very few or no symptoms. A few common signs and symptoms of divertcular disease are:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Tenderness in the lower abdomen

CAUSES

The exact cause of the condition is not known. However, eating food which is low in fiber may be the cause for the development of diverticulitis. Having food which is less in fiber creates constipation in the person. During constipation, more pressure is required to move the stool which may lead to increased pressure in the colon. This may lead to the formation of pores in the inner lining of the colon. The weak spots in the colon wall are pressurized causing the diverticula to tear. This results in the inflammation in the affected area.

RISK FACTORS

There are several factors that may increase the risk of developing diverticular disease.

  • The chance of developing diverticluar disease may increase with the age of the person.
  • People who are over-weight or obese are at a risk of diverticluar disease.
  • Cigarette smoking may also increase the risk of developing the condition.
  • Lack of exercise may lead to the development of diverticluar disease.
  • People who have good amount of fiber content in their diet are definitely at a risk of developing the disease.
  • Certain medications such as naproxen, steroids etc may have constipation as one of its side effects and therefore people taking these drugs are at a risk of developing diverticluar disease.

COMPLICATIONS

More than 25 percent of the people suffering from diverticluar disease may develop the following complications.

  • The colon or the small intestine may get blocked due to scarring
  • Formation of an abnormal passage between the bowel and bladder

DIAGNOSIS

The following are the various diagnostic tests performed in a person suffering from stomach cancer.

  • Physical examination of the patient is performed to check for any changes in the abdomen and the doctor may also ask about the medical history of the patient.
  • Ultrasound scan which is also referred to as sonogram is a diagnostic device which uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the inside of the body. This is performed if the doctor suspects any changes in any part of the stomach. CT scan or PET scan is also taken to check for the spread of disease in the stomach. It takes radiographic pictures of the inside of the stomach.
  • Blood test is performed to check the levels of white blood cells as an increase in the level of white blood cells may indicate the presence of infection.
  • Colonoscopy is also performed to get a clear view of the condition inside the colon. This is performed by inserting a long tube into the colon and the image is displayed on a monitor.

TREATMENT

The treatment for diverticulitis depends on the severity of the condition. The following are the treatments given for diverticluar disease.

For people with mild symptoms of this condition, antibiotics, liquid diet for a few days and solid food rich in fiber may be given. Over-the-counter drugs are also prescribed by the doctor to treat the condition.

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