Changing Global Epidemiology of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Sustaining Health Care Delivery Into the 21st Century

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 May;18(6):1252-1260. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2020.01.028. Epub 2020 Jan 31.


Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis have emerged as global diseases. They affect over 2 million individuals in the North America, 3.2 million in Europe, and millions more worldwide. The recent decades have been characterized by several important changes in the epidemiology of these diseases, in particularly an increasing incidence rates in newly industrialized countries experiencing a westernization of lifestyle. While rates of surgery have experienced a temporal decline attributable in part to increasing availability of medical treatments, earlier initiation of effective therapy, and changes in clinical practice, the healthcare costs associated with these diseases have continued to increase, in part due to costly therapies. Robust epidemiologic and experimental studies have defined the role of the external environment and microbiome on disease pathogenesis and have offered opportunities for disease prevention by modifying such factors. We propose several important steps that are necessary to provide globally sustainable inflammatory bowel disease care in the 21st century.

Keywords: Crohn's Disease; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Ulcerative Colitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colitis, Ulcerative*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases*
  • North America