6 Risk Factors for Ulcerative Colitis
Here are six factors to determine if you might be at risk for ulcerative colitis.
Gender: Ulcerative colitis does not choose sides in the battle of the sexes. Both men and women are at an equal risk of developing the disease.
Age: Ulcerative colitis is most often diagnosed in people between the ages of 10 and 19. However, it can be diagnosed at any age. A smaller diagnosis peak occurs in people between ages 50 and 80. Only 2 percent UC diagnoses occur in children under 10.
European descent: Ulcerative colitis tends to disproportionately affect people of European descent and people of Jewish heritage. People of African-American, Asian and South American descent have a lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis.
Socioeconomic class: Some studies have found that ulcerative colitis affects people of a higher socioeconomic class more than those who are middle or lower class. However, evidence of this is still considered inconclusive.
Smoking: Smokers have lower than average rates of ulcerative colitis, but a higher rate of Crohn's disease. Some patients with ulcerative colitis report developing the symptoms after they quit smoking. For this reason, patients should ask their physician about nicotine replacement if they attempt to quit smoking.
Left-handedness: Surprisingly, people who are left-handed have a significantly higher risk of developing ulcerative colitis, as well as other immune abnormalities.