Ethnicity/race and UC

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 4/16/2009 11:28 AM (GMT -6)   
I heard a strange comment from someone recently when the subject of my UC was brought up. Basically I was told that I had a "white person's" disease. Obviously this was ignorance on their part and mentioned that anyone can get this illness. However, I am aware that it is fairly rare among latinos and african americans according to some studies. In fact, I don't think I have met another person in my community with this illness. I do wonder why it is more common in some populations compared to others.
Mild pancolitis with some diverticular pockets diagnosed in April '08
Currently on 400 mg Asacol X 6 per day

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 4/16/2009 11:33 AM (GMT -6)   
Historically, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was thought to predominantly affect whites. However, IBD is now increasingly recognized in diverse ethnic populations. There is a paucity of studies of IBD in nonwhite populations, especially in Mexican Americans. The aims of this study were to compare the impact of IBD on the quality of life of whites, African Americans, and Mexican Americans and to evaluate differing patient understanding and beliefs regarding IBD. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A questionnaire was administered to 148 patients between June 1999 and November 2003 at a university gastroenterology practice in Houston, Tex. RESULTS: Caucasians (W) comprised 40%, African Americans (AA) 37%, and Mexican Americans (MA) 20% of the respondents. AA and W had predominantly Crohn's disease (CD), whereas MA had predominantly ulcerative colitis (UC; P<0.05). We therefore compared W and AA with CD and W and MA with UC. W were more likely to tell their employers (57% vs 27.5%, P=0.02), fellow employees (68% vs 43.8%, P=0.02) and friends (100% vs 79%, P=0.034) that they had CD. W and AA were equally as likely to have regular checkups by a physician, and there was no difference in the access to gastroenterologists or surveillance colonoscopy. There were fewer differences between MA and W with UC. MA were more likely to believe that UC was caused by stress (70% vs 37%, p=0.044) and cigarette smoking. CONCLUSIONS: Significant differences appear among racial and ethnic groups with IBD regarding attitudes toward disease and impact on daily life. Appreciation of varying ethnic and racial perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs among patients with IBD may be critical to more effective management.

IBD also appears to affect certain ethnic groups more than others. For example, American Jews of European descent are four to five times more likely to develop IBD than the general population. IBD has long been thought of as a disease predominantly affecting whites; the prevalence rate (the number of people with a disease at a given time) among whites is 149 per 100,000. However, there has been a steady increase in reported cases of both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis among African Americans. The prevalence rates among Hispanics and Asians are lower than those for whites and African Americans.



My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 498
   Posted 4/16/2009 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks PB4 for the being so informative. It really helps. I had also read somewhere that the others do not suffer from UC or have lesser chance to get affected because of the hygienic conditions or rather toilet facilities. Though quite strange, but TSO (pig worm treatment) is based on this logic.
45 years Male Attorney
Diagnosed UC October 1989
Had two stage J Pouch Surgery Nov 2005 Take Down March 2006
Complications after surgery - Incisional Hernia and Ano Fistulas
"Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark."
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracl: Albert Einstein
"What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you."

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 381
   Posted 4/16/2009 12:09 PM (GMT -6)   
This is just anecdotal and probably doesn't warrant any statistical accuracy, but I know 4 people with UC and 4 people with Crohn's. Of the UC people 2 are Anglo (non- Jewish), one is Jewish and one is Hispanic. The people with Crohn's: two are Jewish, one is white and one is Hispanic. I am of Sephardic Jewish descent and Spanish descent. No northern Europeon blood. I wonder if we polled people here on the this forum on ethnicity and race what numbers would we get?

But I guess it does't really matter who gets it more---- nobody really wants this disease anyway nono
Jackie, 43
Pancolitis, DX October 06

Lexapro, Synthroid, Protonix,
Tapering prednisone down to 10 mg

Surgery March 13th- Total Colectomy
Jpouch surgery to be done in 3 steps

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 4/16/2009 12:30 PM (GMT -6)   
jblue, in the past here at HW we have polled but there really isn't much significance compared to the polling the researchers have done...and of course as time goes by they do keep track which is how they know when IBD is strangely becomming more prevalant in certain ethnic groups when it hardly affected them in past yrs.  It actually does matter who gets it more in a sense, by keeping track it may lead to the answers of curing it.

IBD is just bizzare in every aspect.


My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Rio in Maryland
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 891
   Posted 4/16/2009 12:37 PM (GMT -6)   
The information I read said that genetically, Ashkinasi Jews had the highest likelihood of developing UC.

Also, something else I read stated that people who use Western toilets have a higher likelihood of having worse symptoms because they don't expel waste completely, whereas squatting, as is common with non-Western, hole in the ground toilets, better expels waste.
Rio, 33 year old male. Diagnosed with UC in 2006
100 mg Azathioprine, 4800 mg Asacol
VSL#3 x 3 times a day, Metamucil wafers
Vitamin E enema or Mesacol/Asacol enema at least once a week
Spinach & sunflower seed diet

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 4/16/2009 2:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes, I've heard about the proper squatting technigue as well, but I don't know if I buy it...I've heard all kinds of possible connections to IBD like toothpaste and refridgerated foods theories as well.
My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 4/16/2009 3:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hmm. This is all pretty interesting. I myself am Mexican American. I know 2 people with UC and 1 with Chrons. The two UCers are white males and the Chronie is a white female.
31 year old female diagnosed with UC (entire colon) Feb 2008
(4) 400mg Asacol 3x a day
Remicade 10mg/kg every 8 weeks
Omega 3 supp, calcium supp

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 459
   Posted 4/16/2009 4:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I am a black South African from South Africa and there seems to be a sudden increase in IBD amongst black African people. I was discussing this with my doctor and he told me that the largest IBD sufferers in South Africa are Jews, followed by people of Indian origin and than black people and the lowest incidence of IBD in South Africans are white South Africans.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5947
   Posted 4/16/2009 4:30 PM (GMT -6)   
     This is an interesting topic.  When I was first diagnosed my doctor asked me if I was of Jewish descent, as many of his patients are so.  I am not.  I really inherited this disease from my father's side of the family who were English descent but arrived in the US in the 1660's.  My mother's family are of Polish descent and I am second generation born in that line.
62 yr old granny. South Jersey
Diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis in 1998 in hospital
Hospitalized (2nd time) in May 2008
Update 11/03/08...finally in remission!!  Hope I don't jinx myself.  Off the prednisone since 11/01/ see if I can stay off for longer than two weeks.  Other meds: 6MP (75 mgm), colazal (6 per day), Benicar and Toprol (high blood pressure meds), Probiotic (2 per day), fish oil capsule and multi-vitamin and calcium with vitamin D.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 157
   Posted 4/16/2009 5:30 PM (GMT -6)   
According to epidemiological data Ashken azi Jews are disproportionately afflicted with ulcerative colitis. This is true also of Caucasians in general to a lesser extent.

Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5154
   Posted 4/16/2009 7:09 PM (GMT -6)   
This topic has been discussed many times in other threads here. The epidemiology of IBD is changing; more people are now affected by it in countries like Japan & the Philippines where it was previously unknown. Since the U.S. lacks a national health insurance program, it's very hard to get a handle on demographics of IBD here-- so even many doctors have only anecdotal concepts on race/ethnicity of American patients. My gastro will publish a book later this year that updates available data worldwide on this & other subtopics in IBD. / Old Hat (30 yrs with left-sided UC ... [etc.])

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 360
   Posted 4/17/2009 7:12 AM (GMT -6)   
This is very interesting. I am of Ashki**** Jewish descent and besides myself, my son, my brother and my niece all have UC or Crohns. My daughter is only 35 but I believe she is also heading in this direction.

Old Hat, please let us know when your GI's book is out and the name of it. I would love to read it.
Presently on: 600 mg. Remicade every 4 weeks
                   Venofer infusion every 4 weeks
                   B12 every 4 weeks              
                   15 mg. Methotrexate/injection weekly
                   12 Asacol daily
                   10 mg. Celexa daily
                   Zofran as needed

Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5154
   Posted 4/17/2009 8:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Will do, Nor_TX. As of now the publication date given is October 2009. / Old Hat (30 yrs with left-sided UC ... [etc.])
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