What’s the Risk of Blood Clots with Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

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The medical term inflammatory bowel disease, also referred to as IBD, is an overall term that describes disorders in which the intestines develop varying degrees of inflammation.

The most likely cause of this inflammation is that the body has developed an immune response against its own intestinal tissue.

There are two main types of inflammatory bowel disease. They are as follows:

The condition of ulcerative colitis is found in the large intestine or the colon. On the other hand, the condition of Crohn’s disease can be found in any area of the gastrointestinal tract from the anus to the mouth.

However, it most commonly is found in the colon, small intestine, or even both.

If you are dealing with the any of the conditions that are considered IBD, you already know that it ranges from manifestation with very mild symptoms to manifestation with very serious symptoms.

If you are dealing with severe inflammation, the condition is considered to be active and you will have a flare-up of your symptoms.

If you are having little to no inflammation, this is when the condition is considered to be in what we know as remission.

Causes of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The truth is that the condition of IBD has no known cause. It is thought that perhaps an agent or even a combination of different agents trigger the immune system of the body to produce inflammation in response to the body’s intestinal tract.

On the other hand, perhaps it is that the intestinal tract creates an autoimmune response.

Whatever the cause though, the reaction will continue to get worse and end up doing damage to the walls of the intestine, which leads to abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Signs and Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Just as with other chronic conditions, as mentioned already- an individual with a condition that is under the umbrella of IBD will usually go through periods of remission (when symptoms clear up and they feel healthy) and periods of flares (when symptoms flare up and they feel worse).

Of course, the symptoms can be very mild or they can be extremely severe and will depend upon what area of the intestinal tract is involved. The symptoms include:

  • Pain and cramping in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe urgency to move bowels
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Appetite loss
  • Iron deficiency

Blood Clots with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Complications

There are several serious complications that can result due to the condition of inflammatory bowel disease, including the following:

  • Narrowing/obstruction of the bowel
  • Malnutrition
  • Extreme intestinal bleeding due to ulcers
  • Fistulae, or abnormal passageways/perianal disease
  • Toxic megacolon
  • Perforation/rupture of bowels

Conditions of IBD, do result an increase of risk for developing other conditions such as blood clots or colon cancer.

In addition, other organs in the body can be affected by the conditions of IBD.

For instance, individuals with the conditions of IBD may also develop skin conditions, bone loss, arthritis, or inflammation of other areas of the body such as liver and eyes, and kidney disorders.

Out of all of these complications, the most common is arthritis. In most cases, complications related to the eyes, skin, and joints typically occur together.

IBD and Blood Clots

According to medical professionals, if you have the condition of inflammatory bowel disease, you are more than twice as likely to develop a serious blood clot in your lungs or legs.

As already mentioned, the condition of inflammatory bowel disease is an overall condition that includes a variety of different intestinal disorders such as: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

In one particular study, researchers found that both children and adults with conditions under the umbrella condition inflammatory bowel disease were much more likely to develop a clot in their lungs- which is referred to as a pulmonary embolism, or PE, or one in the leg- which is referred to as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.

Both DVT and PE typically affect about 2 of every 1,000 individuals each year in developed countries, and the risk for developing a clot increases as we age.

However, in this particular study, researchers revealed that the relative risk of developing a clot related to the conditions of IBD is extremely increased among the younger population.

In those individuals with IBD who were 20 and younger, the risk of developing a clot in their lungs was 6 times more likely when compared with individuals the same age without the conditions of IBD.

The study that is being referenced compared the risk of both DVT and PE in around 49,000 Danish children and adults with inflammatory bowel disease and over 477,000 Danish children and adults without conditions related to IBD. These individuals were followed from 1980-2007.

After they took into consideration any other factors that are known to increase the risk of developing blood clots such as pregnancy, broken bones, surgery, and cancer, researchers did reveal that the chances of developing a clot was 2 times more likely in those individuals with the conditions of IBD than those who did not have these conditions.

Furthermore, the researchers also took the time to look at other factors that are often associated with an increase in risk for developing blood clots such as congestive heart failure, heart disease, use of antipsychotic drugs, diabetes, the use or hormone replacement therapy, or HRT.

The risk of developing a pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis was still around 80 percent higher among those individuals with the conditions of IBD than with those individuals who do not have conditions of IBD.

So, if you do have signs and symptoms of IBD, you should see your physician about ways to control it and possibly decrease your risk for developing a clot.

In addition, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk for developing a clot overall. You can avoid DVT by making sure that you are active- do not lead a sedentary life.