The epidemiological profile of inflammatory bowel disease in different parts of North-West Greece

Authors E.V. Tsianos1, K.H. Katsanos1, D. Christodoulou1, A. Kogevinas2, R.F. Logan, and the N.W. Greece IBD.


The epidemiological profile of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
(IBD) is a topic of great interest because of the differences
in incidence, prevalence, sex and age distribution of the
disease among countries. North-West Greece (NWG) includes
6 prefectures (Ioannina, Arta, Preveza, Thesprotia,
Corfu and Lefkas) and it is an area with a great homogeneity
in the population because of its geographical morphology.
A retrospective epidemiological study was conducted in this
area including all hospitals and private doctors and resulting
in the epidemiological registry of 484 patients, the largest
in Greece. The peak age is 35-54 years with a very small
number of patients under 25 years. Men are more affected
than women (2:1) and Corfu patients have the most severe
extraintestinal manifestations. The mean annual incidence
of IBD in NWG has an approximate 2-fold (1,86) increase
from 1992 to 1997 (7,45x 105 Inhabitants) compared with
the years 1982-1991 (3,99 x 105 Inhabitants) with Ioannina
and Corfu presenting the greatest increase. In addition the
gap between ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease is decreasing
because of Crohn’s more increasing rate. It is also
suggested an East-West (Ioannina, Arta, Preveza, Thesprotia,
vs Corfu and Lefkas) or an island-mountain profile of
IBD is also suggested. Prevalence of IBD is increasing with
Ioannina and Corfu presenting the highest numbers and
being the most industrialized and tourist regions.
This changing profile of Crohn’s disease strengthens the
hypothesis that some environmental factor(s), probably in
correlation with the genetic factor(s), are responsible for
the expression of IBD.
Key words: Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease,
ulcerative colitis, indeterminate colitis, epidemiology, incidence.
Original Articles