Uncomplicated diverticular disease or diverticulosis is a disease of the twentieth century that is thought to be associated with diet. Throughout the century, a fundamental dietary and eating pattern change also took place. Food is no longer a home-cooked meal made from fresh ingredients, such as meat and two vegetables, but something that has been processed and precooked with the addition of preservatives, taste enhancers and various other additives. There is a movement away from the tradition of sitting down at the table and eating; many meals are taken on the hoof and usually at speed. These changes have been the precursors of development of diverticulosis in our society (Keighley and Williams, 1997).
Age has been seen to be a predominating factor in diverticular disease in the western world; the older person does become more susceptible to diverticular disease (Bassotti et al., 2003):
• > 80 years: 62% (Keighley and Williams, 1997).
Recently there has been a tendency towards patients under the age of 50 developing diverticular disease, and deliberation has been that the disease was more aggressive in the younger than in the older patient. There have been several studies into younger patients with diverticular disease to determine a rationale for this development. Biondo et al.'s article in the British Journal of Surgery (2002) found that, in a total of 327 patients admitted to De Bellvitge hospital in Barcelona, Spain, 72 were less than 50 years of age. This research concluded that diverticulitis in the younger patient does not have a particularly aggressive course. In Houston, USA, West et al. (2003) found the same results - that the disease is not more aggressive in the younger patient. They also discovered that the number of younger patients did not reach statistical significance.
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