Only a few previous studies have investigated the prevalence of multiple gastrointestinal diseases in the general British population.
In this study, a team of investigators from England and Sweden examined the prevalence of Crohn’s disease (CD), ulcerative colitis (UC), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gall stones (GS), and peptic ulcer disease (PUD).
The team assessed the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70), and the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS). These were both 1 week national birth cohorts.
They interviewed all cohort members living in Great Britain in 1999 and 2000.
|There was a higher risk of gall stones with lower social class.|
They then calculated the prevalence rates of the 5 diseases. Any associations with sex and childhood social class were investigated using logistic regression.
The researchers found that prevalence per 10,000 in the 1970 cohort was 38 for CD, 30 for UC, 826 for IBS, 88 for 88, and 244 for PUD, at age 30 years.
In the 1958 cohort prevalence was 21 for CD, 27 for UC, 290 for IBS, 78 for GS, and 229 for PUD.
The team determined that there was a significantly higher proportion with CD and IBS in the 1970 cohort, when compared with the 1958 cohort at age 30 years.
However, UC, GS, and PUD were significantly more common in the 1958 cohort.
When both cohorts were combined the team found that there was a higher risk of GS with lower social class.
Dr Ehlin's concluded, "The study indicates an increasing temporal trend in the prevalence of CD and suggests a period effect in IBS, possibly due to adult life exposures or variation in recognition and diagnosis of IBS".