With inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) thought to cost the European Community over €2 billion in annual healthcare costs, United European Gastroenterology (UEG) is calling for EU politicians and leading decision-makers to take a more active role in reducing the burden of the disease.
Presenting the results of a major ‘Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe’1,2 to the European Parliament in Brussels on 3 December, UEG aim to draw attention to the impact IBD and other digestive and liver diseases have on the health and economy of the European community.
The ‘Survey of Digestive Health across Europe’ highlights major differences in the incidence of gastrointestinal disorders and long-term health outcomes amongst European communities. Amongst IBD sufferers, incidence of Crohn?s disease was found to be highest in northern and western regions of Europe whilst ulcerative colitis had the highest incidence in Ireland, Denmark and Finland and the highest incidence of IBD overall is in France.
According to UEG President, Professor Michael Farthing, “IBD has an increasingly crippling impact both to society and to individuals, particularly, the huge proportion of young people who suffer. UEG aim to raise awareness amongst the European Parliament of the debilitating symptoms and resulting impact on quality of life and performance.”
As many as 30% of all IBD patients presenting with symptoms are between the ages of 10 and 193 and nearly a fifth of under 18 year olds have to wait more than 5 years to receive a final diagnosis.4 Symptoms of IBD include faecal incontinence, abdominal cramping and extreme fatigue often resulting in depression5 and low self-esteem5. ‘The Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe’ reveals that 21% of IBD sufferers across Europe felt they had been discriminated against in the workplace with 44% reported to have lost or had to leave their job.
“The cost of IBD care has increased significantly over the past decade and it is vital that additional funding is made available to help reduce the health and societal burden of the disease through ensuring a quicker diagnosis and equitable access to the best treatment for all patients across Europe” adds Professor Farthing.
1. Roberts SE, Samuel DG, Williams JG, et al. Survey of Digestive Health across Europe. Part one: The burden of gastrointestinal diseases and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across Europe. Report for United European Gastroenterology. October 2014.
2. Anderson P, Dalziel K, Davies E et al. Survey of Digestive Health across Europe. Part two: The economic impact and burden of gastrointestinal diseases across Europe. Report for United European Gastroenterology. October 2014.
3. Problems in the diagnosis of IBD in children. H.A Buller. Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam – The Netherlands Journal of Medicine.
4. EFCCA Impact of IBD Study 2010-2011. Published J Crohns and Colitis. 2014 March 21
5. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Young People – The impact on education and employment report – downloadable from the www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk
Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe
The Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe was commissioned by UEG in the spring of 2013 at the request of its own Future Trends Committee. An experienced research group from Swansea University in Wales, UK, initiated a detailed assessment of digestive health across Europe, focussing on the clinical and economic burden of disease and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across 28 European Union (EU) member states, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Russia. The aim of the survey was to draw together all the available evidence and provide up-to-date information on the human health consequences and public health burden of GI disorders.