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Ulcerative Colitis (UC) Sufferers Find UC Quite Disruptive to Many,Aspects of Daily Life

UC's Overall Psychological Toll Is Greater Than for Asthma, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Migraines

WAYNE, Pa., May 17, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly three out of four ulcerative colitis (UC) sufferers (73 percent) responding to a new nationwide survey say not feeling well has become a normal part of life. Furthermore, they describe UC as disruptive when it comes to their relationship with a spouse (64 percent), their sexual relations (75 percent) and their emotional state (82 percent).

UC patients "normalize" aspects of their experience to the point that they resign themselves to these burdens. The majority say that there is not much they can do beyond what they are already doing to feel better (70 percent) and they have learned to live with the disruptions that UC causes (83 percent).

"The findings sound an alarm because a diagnosis of UC shouldn't mean patients are settling for the level of burden reported in this survey for the next 50 or 60 years. UC is a manageable disease with the appropriate therapy," says David Rubin, M.D., a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center who helped design the surveys.

UC is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the intestine and can lead to symptoms such as severe abdominal pain and cramping, uncontrollable bloody diarrhea several times a day, fatigue and weight loss. It is typically first diagnosed in people between the ages of 15 to 30 and is estimated to affect nearly 700,000 Americans.

The objective of the surveys was to understand how UC affects patients' lives, including definitions of what's normal, the threshold for letting the disease disrupt life, and how patients manage their condition. The surveys, titled "UC: NORMAL (New Observations on Remission Management and Lifestyle)" were sponsored by Shire Pharmaceuticals, a specialty biopharmaceutical company which markets
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