Atherosclerosis raises the risk for ischemic colitis (inflammation of the colon) and bowel disease. Atherosclerosis is a condition where the lining of the arteries becomes thickened with plaque build-up. This can cause the arteries to narrow, thus reducing blood flow. Atherosclerosis is a large contributor to heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Ischemic colitis is when blood flow to the colon becomes reduced; therefore, atherosclerosis contribute to ischemic colitis by narrowing the arteries. This lack of blood flow to the colon limits the supply of oxygen for the cells in the digestive system.
Ischemic colitis can be misdiagnosed as other digestive issues and can heal on its own. Ischemic colitis can turn into an infection, so medication is required to prevent this. If damage is done to the colon, surgery may be required.
It isn’t always clear as to why blood flow becomes reduced to the colon, but there are factors that can increase the risk of it, such as:
In rare cases, certain medications can contribute to ischemic colitis as well. Those medications include:
Symptoms of ischemic colitis are:
When symptoms are on the right side of the abdomen there is a higher risk of complications. The arteries on the right side also supply blood to the small intestine, which can also be blocked. Pain in this area is generally much worse.
Blocked blood flow to the small intestine can become deadly. Surgery is required in order to remove the blockage.
The severity of the ischemic colitis decides which treatment will used. Symptoms can subside within days, but your doctor may still prescribe medications as a precaution to prevent infection.
Treatments for ischemic colitis include:
If the ischemic colitis is severe, surgery may be required in order to:
Surgery is more likely in those with heart disease or low blood pressure.
It is difficult to prevent ischemic colitis as there are many factors that can contribute to its onset. Some prevention tips include: