Celebrating Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week during COVID-19
This week we celebrate Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week. This year the IBD community needs our support more than ever.
At Altus Biologics, we understand the many challenges patients face with this disease, which is why we continue to support physicians and patients during these challenging times.
What is IBD?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an umbrella term mainly used to describe disorders that cause chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
The two main conditions:
- Ulcerative Colitis – This condition affects the colon or large intestine and the rectum
- Crohn’s Disease – Crohn’s Disease can cause chronic inflammation in any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the anus. Crohn’s disease doesn’t necessarily affect the whole GI tract. It sometimes manifests in “patches” affecting some areas while leaving other sections completely untouched
IBD is most common among people between the ages of 15 and 40; however, anyone can get IBD regardless of age.
Facts and Statistics
- An estimated 3 million Americans are living with IBD in the United States.
- Some 70,000 new cases of IBD are reported annually in America
- As many as 80,000 children in the United States could have IBD
IBD Patients are more likely to develop other chronic health conditions such as:
- Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
- Respiratory Disease
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Disease
A study found that older adults with IBD exhibit a higher risk for bone loss than the general population and are more likely to be hospitalized for hip fractures and have 30-day readmissions with more extended hospital stays.
The Impact of COVID-19 on IBD Patients
When the pandemic first started, doctors were uncertain if IBD patients had a higher risk of infection and severe disease or complications from COVID-19.
Luckily, research has since demonstrated that Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients may not be at higher risk of COVID-19.
Nevertheless, the uncertainty of those first few months, coupled with the economic downturn and the prospect of not having access to treatment, increased stress levels on chronic disease patients, including IBD patients.
Recent well-designed studies confirm that psychological stress related to life events and depression can increase disease activity and the likelihood of relapse in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients.
The lockdown period, the fear of not having access to biological treatment, and financial stability concerns means many IBD patients experienced chronic stress levels, which could have had an adverse impact on their quality of life.
Thankfully, we now know that inflammatory bowel disease patients may not have a higher risk of infection. Additionally, doctors and researchers encouraged patients not to stop treatment, which helped ease many patients’ fears.
Throughout this period, Altus Biologics stood beside physicians and patients, ensuring treatment continuity and providing helpful information to patients and their caregivers.
Our nurses and customer service staff have played a pivotal role in caring for chronic disease patients during these challenging months. Altus Biologics remains committed to providing the best service for IBD patients. These individuals already have enough challenges in their lives. We firmly believe that access to quality, affordable care should never be one of their concerns.
Know When to Seek Help
In these challenging times, patients must recognize when their anxiety and fear are becoming unhealthy.
The following are warning signs that patient’s need to heed and seek help for:
- Anxiety is interfering with daily life in work, school, or family settings
- Patient experiences new or worsen trouble sleeping
- The patient feels an inability to enjoy daily life and have trouble focusing on tasks
- The patient develops an obsession with news media regarding the COVID-19 health crisis
- Complete or near-complete Isolation
When such behavior arises, patients and their caregivers must reach out to their support system, including their treating physician.
At Altus Biologics, we know how challenging daily life can be for chronically ill patients. We understand the added anxiety these individuals are experiencing due to the pandemic and the possibility of having their treatment interrupted.
That is why our staff continues to work alongside our physician partners to ensure disease management continuity for all patients.