Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) also run an increased risk of stroke or heart attack, new findings warn.

According to the findings of the study, severe internal organ inflammation, a characteristic of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease, also raises the risk of stroke and heart attack.

As inflammation is more pronounced in female patients than in males, the risk is more in the fairer sex, researchers suggest.

The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of nine studies involving over 150,000 patients with IBD. Researchers looked at the risk of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke and for ischemic heart disease in patients with IBD and compared it with the risk in general population.

Researchers found IBD patients to be at a 10-25 percent increased risk of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke and ischemic heart disease.

The risk was specifically high among women. IBD afflicted females had a 28 percent increased risk of cerebrovascular events and a 26 percent increased risk of suffering from ischemic heart disease.
Furthermore, younger patients, those less than 50 years old, faced significantly higher risk for cerebrovascular accidents as compared to older counterparts, researchers added.

Although the researchers established a link between IBD and an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, the researchers failed to clearly mark the cause-and-effect relationship. Severe internal organ inflammation caused due to IBD is speculated to trigger cerebrovascular events in such patients.

“Gastroenterologists should be cognizant of this relationship and should focus on better management of conventional risk factors, such as smoking cessation, recognition and control of hypertension and diabetes,” study’s lead researcher, Siddharth Singh, a researchers at Mayo Clinic advised.

The findings of the study were presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s Annual Scientific Meeting, held between Oct. 11-16 in San Diego.

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