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INTRODUCTION


BACKGROUND


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the name of a group of disorders that cause the intestines to become inflamed (red and swollen). The main forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). IBD has a tremendous impact on quality of life due to a host of devastating symptoms, as well as a substantial personal burden. In the broader community and among the families and coworkers of people with IBD, there is sometimes a lack of understanding of the disease and the intimate nature of symptoms. IBD usually starts in early adulthood (but may occur at any age) and is a lifetime disease. Although most people with IBD can lead full, productive lives with the use of medications and surgery, there is currently no cure for IBD.


In Canada, there is a lack of public awareness of the impact of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Raising awareness is important to reduce the social stigma that is common with these diseases, and to help individuals maximize their overall quality of life. A better public understanding of IBD can also help to raise and direct funds for research, which could lead to improved treatments, and ultimately, a cure.


The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) was established with a two-fold purpose. First, the CCFC believes cures will be found for IBD, and is committed to raising funds for research. Second, the CCFC believes it is important to make all individuals with IBD aware of the Foundation, and to educate all individuals affected by IBD, their families, and the general public about these diseases.


To fulfill this vision, it is essential to gather and share high quality, current and relevant information on IBD. In Canada, we are fortunate to have many top-level researchers, who have conducted some of the landmark research on IBD in the world – much of which has been funded by the CCFC and its partners. The work that they have completed and published in the scientific literature will increase our knowledge about these diseases, and ultimately lead to better treatments that will improve lives for all people living with IBD.


OBJECTIVE


This impact of IBD report is intended to collect and communicate information on IBD which is relevant to Canada and which can be appreciated by the lay public. This work aims to raise awareness and understanding of IBD in Canada, resulting in new research opportunities and improved quality of life for people with IBD. This report builds on, updates, and extends the CCFC-commissioned report from 2008: The Burden of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Canada.


The different areas of information to be addressed in this report include: • Background information on IBD; • Occurrence of IBD (how many Canadians have IBD); • Costs of IBD to the health care system, individuals and society; • Non-financial costs of IBD (quality of life impact); • Directions for future strategies.


THE IMPACT OF INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE IN CANADA 11


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