Over five million people live with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) worldwide.
75,000 of these people are Australians. In fact, Australia has one of the highest rates of IBD prevalence and incidence in the world.
Community understanding can make living with this chronic disease just a little easier.
May is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month. Throughout May, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia will help raise awareness of these common illnesses, and encourage Australians diagnosed with IBD to live fearlessly.
According to Crohn’s & Colitis Australia’s research, community awareness of Crohn’s and colitis has grown over the past decade. However, the stigma associated with these illnesses remains high. As a result, many people are too embarrassed or ashamed to speak about them, to seek help, and some don’t receive the treatment that they need.
CCA Chief Executive Officer Francesca Manglaviti said, “Living with IBD is much more common than you might expect: 1 in 250 Australians are currently burdened with a constant, often hidden, struggle that affects a sufferer’s personal, social and work life.”
“People recently diagnosed or living with IBD are often afraid — they’re generally confused by the diagnosis, worried that IBD will severely affect their day-to-day lives and put their dreams out of reach. With IBD patients stigmatised and often misunderstood by others, they can be embarrassed to discuss their illness with family and friends” said Manglaviti.
“The most important thing for IBD patients to remember is that IBD doesn’t have to stop them living their life, or chasing their dreams. CCA provides a whole range of tools, reliable information and support services, including access to an inspiring, engaged community of people in exactly the same position.”
“With the support of the CCA community and support services, IBD patients can live the life they always dreamt of—they just need to embrace their ‘new normal’ and live fearlessly,” said Manglaviti.
As part of Awareness Month, famous landmarks in Australia will be illuminated in purple on World IBD Day on Friday 19 May to raise awareness about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. With world-famous landmarks such as the Colosseum in Rome, Niagara Falls in the United States, and Federation Square in Australia involved last year, the 2017 World IBD Day will raise much-needed for this invisible illnesses.