General Public Is in the Dark About IBS

Published Online: Thursday, July 1, 2004

Results of a recent survey of 1014 US adults that was designed to assess the public perception of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and its prevalence and impact on society were reported in the May 2004 issue of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. The survey found that only 1.2% of respondents thought that IBS (with an estimated prevalence of up to 20%) affected more Americans than did asthma (estimated prevalence, 9.0%), coronary heart disease (estimated prevalence, 5.9%), diabetes (estimated prevalence, 5.3%), or depression (estimated prevalence, 5%). Only 8.6% of respondents believed that IBS is the second leading cause of work or school absenteeism. Study author G. Nicholas Verne, MD, concludes that these findings demonstrate the gap between public perception and reality and reinforce the need for public IBS educational initiatives.

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