Dietetics and Nutrition 203
23 February 2014
Diverticular Disease of the Colon
Diverticular disease of the colon is characterized by three conditions that are involved in the development of diverticula, or outpouchings, in the muscular wall of the large intestine. These diverticula form in areas of the colon that are weakened by waste, gas or liquid and usually appear in the sigmoid colon, which is an area of high-pressure. The three conditions that lead to the onset of the disease are diverticulosis, diverticulitis, and diverticular bleeding (West).
Diverticulosis indicates the presence of diverticula that are not inflamed. Diverticulosis by itself can go unnoticed due to lack of symptoms and can be caused by something as simple as straining the bowel during constipation. Diverticulitis is defined as having diverticula that are both present and inflamed. This condition occurs when the diverticulum becomes blocked with waste and bacteria are allowed to accumulate, causing infection to occur. The last condition, diverticular bleeding, occurs when the small blood vessels surrounding the diverticula are chronically damaged (West).
Diverticular disease is common in the United States affecting approximately 2.2 million people in this country, of which almost 3,000 people die annually (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse). Around 50 percent of people between the ages of 60 and 80, and even higher percentages of those over the age of 80, suffer from diverticulosis and/or diverticulitis (Blake et al. 135). Complications occur in about 10 percent of people with diverticulosis. These complications can include diverticulitis, obstruction of the bowel, diverticular bleeding, ulceration of the...
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...ker elimination of the bowel (National Fiber Council).
A high fiber diet should be a part of virtually everyone’s lifestyle. In the modern day Western world, carbohydrates and fatty foods are consumed at both an unhealthy rate and amount and are the reason for many health issues, including diverticular disease. These types of foods are not supposed to be the major food group in a healthy diet. Unfortunately consumption of clean proteins, fibers, water and vitamins are often overlooked or excluded. Without a healthy balance between all food groups, the body will not be able to function appropriately and diseases and deficiencies will occur. Exercise, no matter the age, should also be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Eating right, exercising, and avoiding carcinogens allows the body to work as it should and keeps the colon, as well as other organs, happy and healthy.