Diverticular disease has long been considered a health issue primarily affecting Western countries. However, recent research reveals that it is becoming increasingly prevalent in Asia.
One of the most famous cases of this is former UFC Champion and WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and his struggle with diverticulitis, in which a significant amount of his digestive tract was removed. This article delves into the reasons behind the rise in cases and offers insights into the prevention and management of this often-overlooked condition.
What is Diverticular Disease?
Diverticular disease refers to two related conditions: diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Diverticulosis occurs when small pouches, known as diverticula, form in the colon wall. While generally harmless, they can become inflamed or infected, leading to diverticulitis. Symptoms of diverticulitis include abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and constipation or diarrhea.
The Rising Tide of Diverticular Disease in Asia
Recent studies indicate that the prevalence of diverticular disease in Asia has been on the rise. For instance, a Singaporean study revealed that the number of cases increased by 29% between 2005 and 2015. Similarly, a Japanese study reported that the prevalence of diverticulosis doubled from 1990 to 2010.
Factors Driving the Increase
Several factors contribute to the increasing prevalence of diverticular disease in Asia:
- Ageing population: As the population in Asia continues to age, the risk of developing diverticular disease increases, as it is more common in older adults.
- Dietary changes: The adoption of a more Westernized diet, which is low in fibre and high in processed foods, has been linked to the development of diverticular disease.
- Sedentary lifestyles: A lack of physical activity can contribute to constipation, increasing the risk of diverticular disease.
To prevent diverticular disease, medical professionals recommend adopting the following lifestyle changes:
- Fibre-rich diet: Consuming a diet high in fibre, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can promote regular bowel movements and reduce the risk of diverticula formation.
- Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity helps to maintain healthy bowel function and prevent constipation.
- Hydration: Drinking plenty of water can soften stools and ease bowel movements, reducing the risk of developing diverticulosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect you have diverticular disease, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis. Diagnostic methods include a colonoscopy, CT scan, or barium enema. Treatment for diverticulosis typically involves lifestyle modifications, while diverticulitis may require antibiotics, pain relief medication, or in severe cases, surgery.
The Importance of Awareness
Diverticular disease is becoming a significant public health concern in Asia, with potentially serious complications if left untreated. It is vital for individuals to be aware of the risk factors and preventive measures to promote gastrointestinal health and reduce the burden of this hidden health menace.
The rising prevalence of diverticular disease in Asia serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By adopting a fibre-rich diet, engaging in regular exercise, and staying hydrated, we can reduce the risk of this potentially debilitating condition and promote overall gastrointestinal health.