Ulcerative Colitis: Genetics and Policy Issues


Ulcerative colitis is often referred to as inflammatory bowel disease, and it affects people’s digestive system. It has been acknowledged that the disorder is predominant in the Western hemisphere, but there is an apparent shift as the illness is becoming more common in Asian countries (Samuel & Loftus, 2014). It has been found that some groups are specifically vulnerable to the development of the illness as well as a high rate of morbidity. Although the specific causes of the disorder are still unidentified, such factors as heredity and nutrition are regarded as the most influential ones. This paper addresses some of the aspects related to the disorder.

Genetics and Policy Issues

Ulcerative colitis is seen as a hereditary disorder, which can have a considerable effect on the development of certain policies. One of the issues to address is the reimbursement of certain medications, as patients often have to pay out of pocket for rather expensive drugs (Choi & Gellad, 2013). For instance, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover some types of treatment that can be effective. It is necessary to make sure that people with certain family history could have access to the services aimed at treatment, as well as prevention, of this disorder. Furthermore, it is essential to make sure that the FDA has a more balanced approach to monitoring the development of medications to treat ulcerative colitis. It is vital to develop specific standards and regulations associated with the assessment of new drugs and treatment strategies.

Nutritional Influences

As has been mentioned above, particular causes of the disorder are still under discussion, but researchers have agreed that some foods are more likely to lead to the development of the inflammation. For instance, fiber is one of the components that can be regarded as a trigger food for ulcerative colitis (Buchman, 2017). Fat food is also associated with a high risk of the development of the illness. The consumption of alcohol and fizzy drinks is also a health risk for people prone to the disorder. It is noteworthy that nutritional causes are very individual to patients, and there is no single effective diet that can be used in all patients. However, it is also suggested that balanced diets can help in the prevention of ulcerative colitis.

Nutritional Assessment and Counseling

Since nutritional factors are quite influential, it is important to develop proper nutritional assessment and counseling strategies. The assessment of nutritional hazards should include genetic tests and counseling. Patients should be aware of the health risks associated with their health conditions. The assessment of family history is one of the critical tools to address the issue. Patients should understand whether they have a disposition to ulcerative colitis (Buchman, 2017). They should also provide a detailed description of their diet. The analysis of this information should be used in prognostics and diagnostics. Healthcare professionals should try to estimate risks and identify the most effective diet for patients vulnerable to the development of the disorder. Patients suffering from ulcerative colitis should have dietary journals where they note foods they consume, as well as the approximate amount of food they have during each meal. Patients should also describe the symptoms associated with the disorders if any. This approach can help healthcare professionals identify hazardous elements and some essential nutrients that have to be in patients’ diets.

Human Nutrition and Ulcerative Colitis

Nutrition is seen as a factor contributing to the development of the disease and have an impact on the course of the disorder. It is acknowledged that the majority of US patients with ulcerative colitis have mild symptoms, but some studies show that the morbidity rate is still quite high (Samuel & Loftus, 2014). Takaoka et al. (2015) note that over 70% of patients with ulcerative colitis have nutritional issues. It is also found that hospitalized patients tend to be malnourished. Therefore, when treating people with ulcerative colitis, it is crucial to assess their dietary patterns. The tests to apply should reveal the elements patients are lacking. The treatment plan will involve addressing the detected gaps in patients’ diets. Healthcare professionals should also take this information into account during the prognosis development. It is essential to be able to predict possible symptoms that may appear or disappear as a result of this or that treatment.

Conclusion

On balance, it is necessary to note that ulcerative colitis is a disorder associated with numerous gaps and areas that need further exploration. The illness is closely linked to such areas as nutrition and genetics. Patients should receive genetic testing and counseling. It is also crucial to pay attention to the intake of certain foods as dietary factors have a considerable impact on the development of symptoms. The disorder is acquiring the form of an endemic issue as the prevalence of cases in the Western hemisphere is now less apparent. Therefore, it is essential to come up with new treatment strategies and tools, as well as prevention methods. Governments and associated agencies should work on the development of policies that could facilitate the process and help people access high-quality healthcare services.

References

Buchman, A. I. (2017). Nutrition in inflammatory bowel disease. In D. C. Baumgart (Eds.), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis: From epidemiology and immunobiology to a rational diagnostic and therapeutic approach (pp. 584-597). Berlin, Germany: Springer.

Choi, P. A., & Gellad, W. F. (2013). Prescription drug and pharmaceutical policy. In M. K. Sethi & W. H. Frist (Eds.), An introduction to health policy: A primer for physicians and medical students (pp. 101-117). Nashville, TN: Springer Science & Business Media.

Samuel, S., & Loftus, E. V. (2014). The natural history of ulcerative colitis. In G. R. Lichtenstein (Ed.), Medical therapy of ulcerative colitis (pp. 23-30). Philadelphia, PA: Springer.

Takaoka, A., Sasaki, M., Kurihara, M., Iwakawa, H., Inoue, M., & Bamba, S., … Miyazaki, Y. (2015). Comparison of energy metabolism and nutritional status of hospitalized patients with Crohn’s disease and those with ulcerative colitis. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, 56(3), 208-214.