People living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) need more specialised nursing support, the Irish Society for Colitis and Crohn's Disease (ISCC) has said.
IBD refers to the conditions Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The conditions have similar symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Left uncontrolled, symptoms may flare up, causing severe abdominal pain and frequent visits to the bathroom. If parts of the colon become too inflamed, patients may need surgery and a life-long colostomy bag.
According to the ISCC, around 40,000 people in Ireland are affected and most people are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 30. Some 1,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, however some parts of the country, including Kerry and Tipperary, have no specialist IBD nurses available.
The society is calling on the Government to tackle this health issue. It wants to see the number of specialist IBD nurses increased from the current figure of 23 to a minimum of 28, which is in line with international best practice.
The ISCC is urging people to sign an online petition calling on the Government to prioritise IBD nursing. To sign, click here
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