Australia lights up purple in support of people living with Crohn’s and Colitis
Global survey launched on World IBD Day – 19 May
This World IBD Day, Australia is joining a global movement to highlight the impacts of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). World IBD Day unites people in their fight against ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – collectively referred to as IBD.
To help raise awareness, more than 50 Australian landmarks around the nation will light up purple on Friday evening this World IBD Day. This includes iconic sites like Luna Park in Sydney; Flinders Street Station; Trafalgar Bridge in Perth; and Parliament House in Brisbane. There are landmarks lighting up in every state and territory participating in the ‘Shine a Light’ campaign. You can see the full list here.
In Australia, more than 100,000 people live with these conditions, for which there is no cure. While typically diagnosed in teenagers or young adults, the reality is IBD is prevalent across all age groups.
That’s why this year’s World IBD Day puts the spotlight on older people living with Crohn’s and Colitis. A recent study led by Melbourne-based researchers found that there are often disparities in care and treatment options for older people, despite the fact that by 2030, one third of people living with IBD will be aged 60+.
Leanne Raven, CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis Australia (CCA) said this World IBD Day will be crucial in making people aware of the options around the diagnosis and treatment of Crohn’s and colitis.
“While it’s important that people of all ages are supported throughout their journey with IBD, this year’s theme is more important and relevant than ever. Sadly, research tells us that older Australians diagnosed with Crohn’s and colitis – or with suspected disease – are often not receiving the latest treatments, which could make a world of difference.
“In some cases, these people who are putting their IBD symptoms down to the ageing process or simply putting up with pain because there wasn’t a conclusive diagnosis previously. This leads to the disease going undiagnosed, unmanaged, untreated and a diminished quality of life.
“While we don’t have a cure, there have been significant steps forward in diagnosis and treatment so we’re encouraging older people to make sure that they are talking to their GP or specialist gastroenterologist to see if there may be some new options.
“We’re grateful too for the support of all the ‘Shine a Light’ sites that will light up on 19 May crucial because, quite literally, shines a light on these issues and helps us raise awareness for both clinicians and those who are struggling with IBD,” said Ms Raven.
More research to come
CCA is also supporting a global survey that will launch on World IBD Day, designed to capture data on the experiences of older people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The survey will be the first of its kind.
Leanne Raven went on to say that this research initiative is crucial in creating a better future for both older people currently living with IBD and younger people who will continue to require treatment throughout their lives.
“Making sure we understand the experiences and the needs of older people living with IBD is an investment in the current generation of older people but also in all people who are diagnosed with Crohn’s or Colitis or who will be diagnosed in the future. There is currently no cure for IBD and no preventative health promotion programs so we need to be able to provide the best possible healthcare to those who are diagnosed at every stage of their lives. This is the only way to give IBD patients the best possible quality of life.
“We’re really proud to support this milestone survey and encourage anyone over the age of 60 to take a few minutes to complete the questions once the survey has been released on Friday May 19th, World IBD Day,” said Ms Raven.
People wanting to take the survey should head to: https://efcca.org/news/world-ibd-day-2023-survey-people-ibd-aged-60-and-over
Anyone diagnosed with Crohn’s or colitis can join CCA, a community that understands. To learn more, visit https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.au/ or call 1800 138 029.