The main cause of this is not the stress of travelling, but the lack of oxygen experienced in an aircraft or during high altitude stays in the mountains. By taking this new risk factor into account further bouts can be prevented. This is the conclusion of a study supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).
A lack of oxygen or the proverbial thin air, as is common at high altitudes or during flights, can trigger inflammation in the intestinal tract in people with a corresponding predisposition. Researchers of the Swiss IBD Cohort Study have now confirmed this correlation in studies of some one hundred patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In the month following a stay at high altitude or a flight, bouts of inflammation occurred far more frequently, as researchers led by Stephan R. Vavricka of the Triemli hospital in Zurich reported in their recently published study (*).Travel stress is not to be blamed
If stays at higher altitudes and flights are considered as major risk factors for bouts of inflammation in IBD patients, this can make patients’ lives easier. Doctors, for instance, will be able to prescribe medication before a journey, in order to mitigate the bowels’ reaction to the lack of oxygen and to prevent an outbreak of inflammation.Environmental influences play a key role
(Manuscript available from the SNSF; e-mail: email@example.com)
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