A new study entitled “Increased incidence of inflammatory bowel disease in Quebec residents with airway diseases” revealing that patients with airway diseases have a higher frequency of inflammatory bowel disease was recently published in the European Respiratory Journal by Dr. Paul Brassard, a professor from the Lady Davis Institute and lead author of the study.
It has been suggested that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and airway diseases may be developed through common inflammatory pathways, and triggered by factors of genetic and environmental origin. Previous epidemiological studies have shown that the incidence of IBD was highly increased in patients with airway diseases when compared to the general population. Quebec is the province with the second highest frequency of Crohn’s disease in Canada, with an incidence of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) more than the country’s average and with the highest mortality rate due to COPD nationally.
The authors evaluated if the frequency of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis were higher in patients with airway diseases when compared to the general population of Quebec, Canada. This is the first population-based study ever done to assess this type of association. The authors analyzed the patients diagnosed with airway disease and with inflammatory bowel disease between 2001 and 2006, looking for patients with prescriptions for medications for both asthma and COPD. The researchers found that the frequency of Crohn’s disease was 27% and 55% higher in subjects, respectively, with asthma and COPD, and ulcerative colitis was 30% more prevalent in people with COPD, when compared with the rest of population.
“These findings have important implications for the early detection of inflammatory bowel disease in airway disease patients. Although a link has previously been suggested, this is the first study to find significantly increased rates of inflammatory bowel disease incidence in people with asthma and COPD. If we can confirm a link between the two conditions it will help diagnose and treat people sooner, reducing their symptoms and improving their quality of life,” said Dr. Paul Brassard, in a press release.