People with inflammatory bowel disease have higher stroke risk, study finds

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Living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) comes with its challenges, and now research suggests it could also increase the risk of having a stroke.

While the study doesn’t say IBD causes strokes, it does show that there’s a link between the two.

What is IBD?

IBD is a term for chronic inflammation of the intestines and includes conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It’s a long-term problem that can cause pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.

The Study on Stroke Risk

The study looked at a large group of people, some with IBD and some without, to see who had more strokes.

They found that those with IBD were 13% more likely to have a stroke than those without IBD. This was after considering other stroke risk factors like heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity.

Over about 12 years of study, researchers saw that out of 85,006 people with IBD, 3,720 had a stroke. That’s about 32.6 out of every 10,000 people each year, compared to 27.7 out of 10,000 people without IBD.

Even siblings of those with IBD (who didn’t have IBD themselves) had a lower risk of stroke, supporting the idea that IBD might be linked to a higher chance of stroke.

Why Does IBD Affect Stroke Risk?

The study mostly saw an increase in ischemic strokes, which happen when blood flow to the brain gets blocked.

IBD causes inflammation, and inflammation is known to play a role in stroke risk. Also, IBD and strokes can be partly genetic, which could explain why they sometimes go hand in hand.

What Does This Mean for People with IBD?

If you have IBD, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about stroke risk. Keeping an eye on other risk factors and living a healthy lifestyle could help reduce the chance of having a stroke.

Study Limitations

The study wasn’t perfect. Over the years, how doctors define IBD and strokes has changed, which could affect the findings.

Plus, there wasn’t a lot of information on things like diet, smoking, and drinking, which can also affect stroke risk.


For people with IBD, it’s important to know there might be a higher risk of stroke. This doesn’t mean a stroke is inevitable, but it’s a good idea to watch for signs and stay healthy to help lower the risk.

Remember, knowing about the risk is the first step in preventing it.

If you care about stroke, please read the research about Thanks to his wife’s quick reaction, a postal worker fully recovered from a stroke, and new hope for people with irregular heartbeat to prevent stroke.

For more information about gut health, please see recent studies about The crucial link between diet, gut health, and the immune system and results showing that Low-gluten, high-fiber diets boost gut health and weight loss.

The study can be found in Neurology.

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