Symptoms and Causes of Diverticulitis Disease

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Diverticulis Disease Overview Diverticular disease affects the large intestine and typically occurs when pouches called diverticula form in the sigmoid colon, the curved part of the intestine closest to the rectum (UMMC 2011). The disease typically falls into two categories-- diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is the presence of many diverticula along the intestinal wall. Diverticulitis occurs when these pouches become inflamed (NDDIC 2007). Causes and Risk Factors Diverticulitis can most typically be attributed to low-fiber diets and chronic constipation. Factors such as aging, lack of regular exercise, high-fat intake, and physical abnormalities may contribute to the disease (NDDIC 2007). Epidemiological and anatomical evidence indicates that more than 60% of Westernized societies will develop diverticulosis at some point (Escott-Stump 2007). This is stark contrast to Asian societies follow more high-fiber, low-total fat and low-red meat dietary patterns (Nguyen et al. 2011). It is believed that high body mass index and obesity are predisposing factors. Evidence also suggests that adults over the age of 70 are more prone to developing diverticula, and 80% will exhibit no symptoms (UMMC 2011). Complications are also more prevalent among men, and in African-Americans and Hispanics. CDC research suggests that the Midwestern and Southern regions of the US typically have higher obesity rates compared with states in the West and Northwest. Regional

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