Epidemiology of intrafamilial inflammatory bowel disease throughout Europe

Authors María Teresa Arias Loste, Beatriz Castro, Montserrat Rivero, Javier Crespo.


The incidence and prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have distinctly changed over
the past decades throughout Europe. From former North-South and West-East risk gradients,
nowadays, classic high-risk areas for IBD in North and West present more stable incidences
whereas in formerly low-risk zones the incidence is rising. These changes cannot be explained
by genetic modifications in IBD patients' background, which draws attention to the possible
existence of potent environmental factors triggering this epidemiologic shift. Important lessons
can be drawn from different European population-based studies assessing the influence
of environmental factors in familial IBD that may impact on the outcome of the disease and
the management of the patients and their relatives.

Keywords inflammatory bowel disease, epidemiology, familial aggregation, environmental

Ann Gastroenterol 2012; 25 (3): 188-192

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