Diverticular disease is rarely experienced in those under 30 years of age. However, diverticulitis is a common disease for people aged 60 and older. In fact, diverticulitis affects as many as 10-25% of U.S. citizens, men and women equally. So what is diverticular disease? How does it differ from the related term, diverticulosis?
The anatomy of the colon
Diverticulitis directly impacts the digestive system, particularly the colon. The colon is an essential part of the chain that makes up the digestive system. Food you consume moves through your stomach, small intestine, and the large intestine to finally reach the colon. Along this journey, food is broken down and nutrients and water absorbed until only waste matter is left, or stool. This becomes stored in the sigmoid colon until purged by the body. The colon is made up of five components:
Diverticula - Diverticula are pouches that commonly form along the digestive tract, most prevalent along the walls of the large intestine. These small “bumps” are usually not problematic, and most people aren’t aware of them unless they become inflamed or infected.
What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is a condition when pouches along the digestive tract become inflamed or infected. Another term doctors use that is related to the condition is diverticulosis. This merely means that you are experiencing normal diverticula, without inflammation or infection.
Diverticulitis can occur everywhere in the digestive system. However, diverticulitis usually affects the sigmoid colon. Diverticulitis negatively impacts colon heath, resulting in pain, nausea, and even more dangerous conditions such as infection and peritonitis that signify a medical emergency.
Are you at risk of diverticulitis? Do you know what causes this digestive disorder? Click here to learn more about risk factors and causes of diverticulitis now.
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