Why IBD Awareness Matters

IBD...a fad it seems? When I was diagnosed about 12 years ago, I rarely saw commercials for medications to help with IBD. Now, I would be surprised if I didn’t see one on TV at least once a day. So what has changed?

More patients are being diagnosed with IBD

Of course, I don’t think it is a fad. I honestly believe that more and more patients are being diagnosed now than twenty years ago because people are becoming more aware of their body. I think mentalities changed and people overall have become scared. When they are scared, what do people do? They go to the doctor or even the hospital. People have become more aware of IBD because insurance companies have become more understanding when being asked to pay for expensive tests such as colonoscopies, or “small bowel follow through.” People are also studying their family lineage to see if anyone else in their family has IBD because they are reading that in some instances that it is hereditary. So, patients have become more aware.

IBD will change someone's life

It’s important to stay aware because this disease will change somebody’s life forever. We want to be aware because we want to be able to help them, just as they helped us when we were first diagnosed. So how do we stay aware, and help out?

First, make sure we are joining the CCFA- The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. This is a wonderful organization that raises money every day to promote research for IBD. This ongoing research is important to us because it might find an overall cure for inflammatory bowel diseases. I have been part of the foundation for many years. It has grown so much since it was first started. I have met so many wonderful people through IBD. I participate every year in their annual walk to support IBD awareness. All the money raised is given for research.

It's important to catch IBD early

IBD awareness matters because we want to help catch IBD before it gets “out of hand.” Even though I have a very bad case of IBD, I don’t blame any decision I made. I made my decisions based on the doctor's recommendations. That leads me into my next reason awareness for IBD matters. We have to show these gastro doctors and colorectal doctors tons of love. If it wasn’t for them, I honestly believe I would not be alive. They really worked together to get me on the right combination of medications. It was a bumpy road in the beginning, but these days, I am doing really well.

Raising awareness matters because you are always trying to help others. Another great way to help others is by communicating with new IBD patients. Give them kind words of advice just like I am doing. It’s always important to become part of support groups. They are usually held at local hospitals. I love helping out and seeing a smile come across other IBD patients’ faces when they realize that they are not alone. That’s the biggest take away from being aware is never anyone with leaving any IBD alone. Let them know they are surrounded by love!

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