Home What is Diverticulitis? Who is at Risk
Who is at risk for Diverticulitis
Who is at risk? PDF Print E-mail

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I don’t want to scare your however anyone could and possible will develop diverticulosis.  In view of the fact that is takes so long to develop, diverticulosis generally appears later in life.  It can on occasion it has appeared in people as early as their 20’s, but generally by the time we hit the age of 50 about 25 – 50 percent of all people with have some diverticula.  And by the age of 80 almost everyone will have developed at least a few diverticula. 

Over time the colon, particularly the sigmoid colon, create small pouches that will bulge outward through the weaker sections of the colon wall.  These sacs or pouches are generally caused by constipation that causes increased pressure within the intestine walls.  Once these pockets get the opportunity to fill with intestinal waste it could become inflamed and cause a case of a condition call diverticulitis.  This happens on average to about 10 – 25 percent of people with diverticulosis.

Because the Western (North America, Great Britain, northern and western Europe) society’s diet has become so much more dependent on processed foods and low fiber diets over the years it is the highest in vulnerability of diverticulosis.  Other regions such as India and rural Africa rarely see this condition; their diets are consistent with high fiber content foods.  So it is obvious that an increased amount of fiber in the diet is a key benefit. 
It is obvious that in many older people diverticulosis does appear, and it is generally because the digestive system slows down with age. 

In addition here is a list of things that increase the risk of diverticulosis:

  • Not eating the proper amount of dietary fiber on a daily basis.
  • High amounts of processed foods.
  • Not enough fresh raw vegetables and fruits.
  • Constant use of medicines that slow down the bowels                                                                           
        (example: anti-depressants & pain killers).
  • Having family members who have diverticulosis.
  • Overuse of laxatives.
  • Obesity.
  • Gallbladder disease.

The good news is that quite a majority of people who actually have diverticulosis it can remain symptom-free.  For many people their diverticula are generally discovered during a routine exam of their intestinal tract while looking for other conditions.  However for safety’s sake if you do feel any signs of tenderness around the left side of the lower abdomen, severe stomach cramping, blood in the stools don’t ignore it and contact your doctor for a consultation.  If infection occurs there could also be fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation.

To help your colon stay healthy and avoid diverticulosis as long as possible make sure to eat a diet high in fiber, and don’t let that word scare your there are really are good tasting high fiber foods out there.  Get exercise, I’m not talking marathons, but at least get out in the sunshine, rain, or even snow and enjoy the beautiful world out there by taking a nice walk at least 4 times a week if not daily.  Walking and simple exercise has been known to help the bowels move also.

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