Family History of IBD Raises Personal Risk

If you have a family member with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you are much more likely to develop the condition yourself, according to results from a recent Danish study. Frederik T. Moller, M.D., from Statens Serum Institut in Denmark, led a cohort study of the entire Danish population from 1977 to 2011 to determine familial risk of IBD. Moller and his colleagues examined national registry data and calculated risk estimates based on first-degree, second-degree and third-degree relatives.Out of the 45,857 cases identified, researchers determined that 6.6 percent of Crohn’s disease cases and 4.8 percent of ulcerative colitis cases had a family history of the disease. Percentages were even higher in recent years (2007-2011), with 12.2 percent of Crohn’s disease patients and 8.8 percent of ulcerative colitis patients having a positive family history.Figures among Crohn’s disease patients with a positive family history are as follows:

  • 72 percent had a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or child) with IBD
  • 23 percent had a second-degree relative (aunt, uncle, half-sibling or grandchild) with IBD
  • 5 percent had a third-degree relative (half aunt or uncle, cousin, niece or nephew) with IBD

Ulcerative colitis patients with a positive family history produced the following figures:

  • 77 percent had a first-degree relative with IBD
  • 19 percent had a second-degree relative with IBD
  • 4 percent had a third-degree relative with IBD

Researchers further found that having more than one relative with IBD presents a significantly higher risk. Analysis of particular age groups found that younger individuals have a higher risk as well.“In general, first-degree relatives of IBD cases had a seven-to-eight times increased risk of contracting IBD, compared with sporadic cases, and this risk was most pronounced in early life,” Moller said. “While the rate ratios presented may be more generalizable, the presented absolute risk estimates are applicable mainly in a setting with prevalence and incidence data compatible with Danish incidence and prevalence” (Source: Healio).