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Study Finds High Incidence Of Bowel Disease In People With Lung Conditions

Update Date: Nov 19, 2014 10:19 AM EST

People suffering from airway disease, i.e., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), have higher incidence of inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, a new study has found.

It is the first population-based study to examine the association between airway disease and the incidence of bowel disease. 

Findings of the study showed that the incidence of Crohn's disease was 27% higher in people with asthma and 55% higher in people with COPD, compared to the general population. The incidence of ulcerative colitis was 30% higher in people with COPD compared to the general population, the press release added.

Earlier, studied had suggested a link between the two conditions,  which could be a result of common genetic and environmental factors, or similar inflammatory responses seen in the immune system. If the link is confirmed, it would have the key implications for clinicians treating people with airway diseases, according to the press release.

"These findings have important implications for the early detection of inflammatory bowel disease in airway disease patients. Although a link has previously been suggested, this is the first study to find significantly increased rates of inflammatory bowel disease incidence in people with asthma and COPD. If we can confirm a link between the two conditions it will help diagnose and treat people sooner, reducing their symptoms and improving their quality of life," said Dr Paul Brassard, lead author of the study from the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Canada, in the press release.

The study was published in the European Respiratory Journal. 

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