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.
Dr Darrell Finlay and colleagues from Texas compared the impact of IBD on the quality of life of whites, African Americans, and Mexican Americans.
The research team evaluated differing patient understanding and beliefs regarding IBD.
The team performed a questionnaire to 148 patients between 1999 and 2003 at a university gastroenterology practice.
The researchers reported that Caucasians comprised 40%, African Americans 37%, and Mexican Americans 20% of the respondents.
|Caucasians were more likely to tell employers that they had Crohn's|
|Inflammatory Bowel Diseases|
The team found that African Americans and Caucasians had predominantly Crohn's disease, whereas Mexican Americans had predominantly ulcerative colitis.
Subsequently, the team compared Caucasians and African Americans with Crohn's disease, and Caucasians and Mexican Americans with ulcerative colitis.
Caucasians were more likely to tell their employers, fellow employees and friends that they had Crohn's disease.
The researchers observed that Caucasians and African Americans were equally as likely to have regular checkups by a physician.
There was no difference in the access to gastroenterologists or surveillance colonoscopy.
The researchers noted fewer differences between Mexican Americans and Caucasians with ulcerative colitis.
Mexican Americans were more likely to believe that ulcerative colitis was caused by stress and cigarette smoking.
Dr Finlay's team concludes, “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.”