The What and Why: Faecal Calprotectin – The Poop Test

What is Faecal Calprotein? Faecal calprotectin is a biochemical measurement of the protein calprotectin in the stool. Elevated faecal calprotectin indicates the migration of neutrophils to the intestinal mucosa, which occurs during intestinal inflammation; including inflammation caused by inflammatory bowel disease. Under a specific clinical scenario, the test may eliminate the need for invasive colonoscopy or radio-labelled white cell scanning. Why is it important? The British Society of Gastrnology (BSG) sees this test as providing “differentiation between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and functional gut disorders, and the determination of mucosal disease activity in established cases of IBD [which] remains the cornerstones…

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IBD Basics: Blood Tests

What are blood tests & Why are they important? Blood tests are one of the most common medical tests for diagnosing any condition. Blood tests are used to both help with a diagnosis of IBD and also to monitor your condition once you have a diagnosis. However, here are no blood tests that can directly diagnose IBD. Blood tests are one tool in a Gastroenterologist’s tool box to help determine your condition, as well as determine when and if it is in remission or flaring up. A blood test can be done to test for inflammation in the body. This test does not…

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The What and Why: Inflammation & CRP

What is Inflammation & CRP? Inflammation is the process in which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. CRP – C-Reactive Protein is the most sensitive ‘acute phase protein’ and is the top choice in most situations when detection or monitoring of the acute phase response is required.  It has a rapid response time and will rise within two hours of acute insult – surgery or infection, for instance. CRP has a short half-life (8 hours) and should peak and begin decreasing within 48 hours if no other…

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IBD Basics: Methotrexate

What is Methotrexate & Why is it important? Methotrexate is part of a group of medication called immunosuppressants. They work to help  reduces inflammation in the body by dampening down the activity of the immune system. It works particular well at controlling the inflammation in the gut, helpful for IBD. As IBD is an autoimmune response to too much active inflammation in the bowel, Methotrexate works well in many cases, but it comes with side effects. Methotrexate interferes with the growth of certain cells of the body, especially cells that reproduce quickly, such as cancer cells, bone marrow cells, and…

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IBD Basics: Immunosuppressants

What are Immunosuppressant & Why are they important? Immunosuppressants are drugs which damped down the immune system. They can also be called Immunomodulators; as they modify the immune’s response to a proposed threat to the body. IBD is an auto immune disorder, in which the immune system over reacts to inflammation. The cause is still unknown, but treatment plans usually look to changing the body’s response to this inflammation. Immunosuppressants are a good way of helping control these responses; preventing too much damage occurring. Why are they used to treat IBD? Immunosuppressants can be appropriate in the following treatment situations: Non-response…

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