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An introduction to the issue of crohns disease

Advanced Search Abstract Background and aims: Lack of public awareness may contribute to tardy consultation of primary care physicians, late diagnosis and development of potentially preventable complications of disease.

A public opinion poll has been performed to assess the awareness of CD and UC in the Austrian population.

  • Chi-square test was used for statistical analysis;
  • The guideline aims to help improve the care offered to people with Crohn's disease and provide information about the clinical and cost effectiveness of potential care pathways.

People interviewed were selected using a quota sampling scheme representing the Austrian population. Poor knowledge in the public is reported which may vastly impact outcome and health economic consequences of IBD.

Crohn's diseaseUlcerative colitisPublic awareness 1 Introduction Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease, are lifelong diseases, which become usually manifest in early adulthood and progress over time towards complications prompting intestinal surgery. IBD is still facing an essential under-management in our health systems despite an increasing incidence of up to 20 per 100. Delay of diagnosis and therapy may result in potentially preventable primary complications.

We assume that lack of public awareness might contribute to tardy consultation of primary care physicians by patients suffering from chronic symptoms socially unacceptable.

Thus, we performed a public opinion poll to assess the awareness of CD and UC in the Austrian population, which is after extensive search of literature the first study ever carried out and published.

All results are expressed as absolute numbers and percentages.

Chi-square test was used for statistical analysis. IBD is one of the complex human diseases of major public health importance like rheumatoid arthritis or type 2 diabetes. However, indirect costs such as early retirement and sick leaves even surpass direct costs as the most important economic factor.

In 1992 a cross-sectional survey by standard questionnaire street interviews was conducted to determine public knowledge of diabetes and its symptoms in London's population. In our study awareness on IBD was disproportionately poor, and may not simply be explained by the 2 to 4 fold lower prevalence compared to diabetes mellitus at time of the above mentioned study.

In total only a minority of the participants were able to associate the terms with an intestinal disease. Similar to the diabetes study women, the older generation, people with higher school education and urbanites were more knowledgeable about IBD.

Poor public knowledge of IBD might impact the outcome of patients in various ways. Late medical consultation could be a consequence. Furthermore, symptoms at first presentation of IBD are non-specific and difficult to interpret by patients and general practitioners.

Crohn's Disease

Data on the awareness of IBD symptoms in the latter are not available. A city-wide mass media campaign utilizing local radio and newspapers on diabetes mellitus significantly increased public knowledge after 1-week only, which is supportive to foster similar activities for IBD.

In conclusion, public awareness of CD and UC in the Austrian population, which could be extrapolated to other western countries, is poor.

Increasing common knowledge of IBD may initiate more self-referral to general practitioners and could result in early diagnosis and rapid initiation of efficacious treatment. Public awareness of IBD should be of major interest in health policy and nation-wide education campaigns are warranted to become a priority in health promotion.

There are no conflicts of interest. Acknowledgements Author's contribution to the paper The authors wish to thank the international polling institute, IMAS internationalwhich was commissioned to perform the public opinion poll.