The Importance of Understanding Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Raising Awareness

Northwestern Medicine
Gastroenterology May 28, 2015

Digestive health issues are a common concern for many Americans, and some of these issues can actually be the sign of larger problems that can get worse over time if left untreated. This is especially true for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 to 1.3 million Americans suffer* from IBD, which can take several forms. The two most common inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Both of these illnesses cause a person’s immune system to mistake food, bacteria, and other materials often present in the intestine, as hostile foreign substances. The immune system then attacks the lining of the intestines, resulting in chronic inflammation and severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Watch the following video to learn more about IBD, featuring Stephen B. Hanauer, MD, medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center.


To help raise awareness about IBD, the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center is proud to support the 2015 Take Steps Chicago Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis*. While many suffer in silence, the Take Steps walk brings those suffering from IBD and their loves ones together as a supportive community. This year’s walk will take place this Saturday, May 30, at Montrose Harbor.

Find out more about the 2015 Take Steps Chicago Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis*.

Learn more about the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center.

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