Debunking Myths About Diverticular Disease

David A. Johnson, MD


April 07, 2014

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In This Article

Common Conditions: Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Hello. I am Dr. David Johnson, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. Welcome back to another installment of GI Common Concerns -- Computer Consult.

Today, I wanted to talk with you about diverticulosis and diverticulitis -- and perhaps put some myths out there, along with some myth-busters.

Diverticulosis is a very common disease. If you look at epidemiologic studies, it affects 50% of people at age 50 years, 60% at age 60 years, and almost 70% of people in their 70s and 80s. Diverticulosis is associated with somewhere in the neighborhood of 280,000 hospitalizations every year, nearly 2000 deaths, and approximately $3 billion annually in healthcare expenses, so it is a very complicated disease in terms of the impact on our patients.

What do we do with these patients when we see them? We perform a colonoscopy on a patient and say, "You have diverticulosis." "Well, doctor, what do I need to do about that?"

Let's talk about some of the myths and some myth-busters that have been provided by the evidence from a series of studies that have come out recently. I thought it would be helpful to review these and put them in perspective.


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