Atherosclerosis risk for ischemic colitis (inflammation of colon) and bowel disease

By: Emily Lunardo | Colon And Digestive | Friday, November 06, 2015 - 05:00 PM

Atherosclerosis risk for ischemic colitis (inflammation of colon) and bowel diseaseAtherosclerosis 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.

Ischemic colitis causes

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:

  • Ischemic colitis causesAtherosclerosis
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Blood clot
  • Bowel obstruction caused by a hernia
  • Surgery that involves blood vessels
  • Medical conditions affecting the blood, such as lupus or sickle cell anemia
  • Cocaine or methamphetamine use
  • Colon cancer

In rare cases, certain medications can contribute to ischemic colitis as well. Those medications include:

  • Some heart and migraine medications
  • Hormone medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Certain medications for irritable bowel syndrome
  • Chemotherapy

Ischemic colitis symptoms

Symptoms of ischemic colitis are:

  • Ischemic colitis symptomsPain, tenderness or cramping in the abdomen
  • Bright-red or maroon colored stool
  • Feeling of urgency to release bowels
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

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.

Ischemic colitis treatment

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:

  • Antibiotics
  • IV fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Treatment for underlying medical condition
  • Avoiding medications that may constrict blood vessels

If the ischemic colitis is severe, surgery may be required in order to:

  • Remove dead tissue
  • Repair a hole in your colon
  • Bypass blockage in an intestinal artery
  • Remove part of the colon that has narrowed due to scarring, which is creating the blockage

Surgery is more likely in those with heart disease or low blood pressure.

Ischemic colitis prevention

It is difficult to prevent ischemic colitis as there are many factors that can contribute to its onset. Some prevention tips include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Treating heart conditions
  • Controlling cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Not smoking

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Related Reading:

Colon polyps causes and increased colon cancer risk

Crohn’s disease causes, symptoms, treatments and role of gut bacteria

Sources:

http://www.healthline.com/health/ischemic-colitis
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ischemic-colitis/basics/prevention

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