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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics


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REVIEWS  OVERLAPPING GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS IN INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASES


Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2015 December;61(4):235-47

language: English

The aged gut in inflammatory bowel diseases

Ardesia M. 1, Villanacci V. 2, Fries W. 3

1 Internal Medicine, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy;
2 Institute of Pathology, Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy;
3 Clinical Unit for Chronic Bowel Disorders, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine,
University of Messina, Messina, Italy


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Senescence is accompanied by various anatomical and functional alterations starting from mastication and deglutition and consequent modifications of nutrition. In addition, the widespread use of proton pump inhibitors and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in aged subjects weakens the gastric barrier, thus contributing to easier entry of microbes into the gastrointestinal tract. The microbiota of the elderly is less stable than that of younger adults, therefore, gut dysbiosis is more frequent. Dysbiosis represents a key factor for infections, e.g. Clostridium difficile, especially after antibiotic treatment, but also represents an important step for the development of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). IBD onset in the elderly needs careful evaluation in order to distinguish this entity from other pathologies that may affect the gut in senescence. Colitis associated with diverticula, drug-induced, ischemic, and microscopic colitides are among the possible diseases and, therefore, a careful macroscopic and histologic evaluation is mandatory. Finally, late onset IBD represents an important challenge for physicians since it occurs in subjects with frequent comorbidities and relative concomitant treatments. Although there is some evidence that disease course of elderly-onset IBD follows a milder course, overall morbidity, hospitalization rates and even mortality, the latter mostly due to comorbidities, are increased, especially in emergency settings.

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