A low blood count or anaemia can lead to tiredness and breathlessness. This is may be due to loss of blood from the gut (especially if there is evidence of low body iron stores)...


Diverticular disease (view from the inside - at colonoscopy). Note that the "pockets" are wide-mouthed
Viewed from the outside

What is diverticular disease?

  • This is a condition where there are “pockets” on the colon.
    • These are “ballooned out” areas that form in weak spots on the colon presumably in response to high pressure in the bowel.
    • Diverticular disease is common - and becomes more common with age.
    • More than 1/3 of people over 45 years and 2/3 people over 85 years have diverticular disease.

  • The cause of diverticular disease is unknown.
    • It is a disease that is much more common in Western populations.
    • It is uncommon in Asian and African populations.
    • This has given rise to the idea that the low dietary fibre in the Western diet is the cause of diverticular disease.
    • This is only a hypothesis.  There is only limited evidence linking low fibre intake with diverticular disease.
    • There is no evidence that an increase in dietary fibre can prevent or delay progression of the condition.
    • There is likely to be a dietary influence but this could equally be some other dietary factor - perhaps a rice-based diet is less likely to give problems that our strongly wheat-based diet.
    • There is an association with being overweight and a sedentary lifestyle
    • There is probably a genetic factor as there is commonly a family history but there is limited data on this issue

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