Diverticular disease is a condition in which small pouches, called diverticula, develop in the wall of the colon, or large intestine.
The pouches develop at weak spots in the wall of the colon. These weak spots occur because of excess pressure in the colon, or existing weakness in the colon wall, that eventually bulge out to form pouches.
The increase in pressure in the colon is commonly caused by constipation due to lack of fiber in the diet.
Most pouches occur in the sigmoid colon-the lower left part of the large intestine that connects to the rectum.
The condition is common in older people, affecting about half of Americans by age 60 and nearly all by age 80. Only a small percentage of those with diverticula will have symptoms.
In a small number of people who develop diverticula, the diverticula become inflamed or infected. This condition is known as diverticulitis.
Need To Know:
Diverticular disease was virtually unheard of before a hundred years ago. It has become common in western countries-especially the United States, England, and Australia-where the average diet consists of processed foods that are low in
The change in the way wheat was processed into flour at the turn of the century-from a crushing to a finer rolling process-accounts substantially for the depletion of fiber in our diets.
The condition is far less widespread in Asian and African countries, where diets still include large amounts of fiber. However, with economic development and changes in diet, the incidence of diverticular disease is increasing in African countries.
Need To Know:
What is Fiber?
Fiber is the cell walls of plants. It is found mainly in the outer layers of plants - the parts of plant cells that are not digested in the intestine. It is a special type of
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for all body functions, especially brain functions. Cereals, vegetables, fruits, rice, potatoes, legumes, and flour products are major sources of carbohydrates.
There are two main types of fiber, and they have different effects on the body:
Fiber has an influence on the digestion process from start to finish:
The following are good sources of fiber:
For further information about fiber, go to Fiber: Its Importance In Your Diet.
Facts about diverticular disease