Many people whose parents, older siblings, aunts or uncles have been diagnosed with either diverticulosis, diverticulitis, or diverticular bleeding dread that they are at high risk of any of these illnesses. However, there is actually no known link between genetics and any of these diverticular diseases.
A majority of health professionals believe that diverticulitis is NOT hereditary. It is an age-related, lifestyle-acquired condition that cannot be passed on through genetics.
This is because diverticula actually come from poor lifestyle choices, such as consuming a diet high in trans fats and low in fiber.
Constipation, caused by unhealthy processed foods, may also be a leading cause of diverticula formation, which then leads to diverticulosis, diverticulitis or diverticular bleeding.1
What’s more, diverticulitis is not infectious. Living, interacting and/or sharing things with a person with any type of diverticular disease will not put you at risk of this condition.
Genetic Conditions May Predispose You to Diverticular Disease
Although diverticulitis itself is not hereditary, there are some particular genetic disorders that can predispose you to this condition, particularly to the formation of diverticulum.2 These include:
• Ehlers-Danlos syndrome — This refers to a group of inherited disorders that impact your connective tissues, particularly your skin, blood vessel walls, and joints. People who have this condition usually have stretchy, fragile skin and overly flexible joints.3
• Williams-Beuren syndrome — Also known as Williams syndrome, this rare disorder occurs when a person lacks chromosome 7, which has 25 genes.4 It is characterized by growth delays before and after birth, mental deficiency or learning disabilities, heart and blood vessel issues, and musculoskeletal problems.
People with this disorder also have characteristic facial features (round face, thick lips, full cheeks, a large mouth that’s usually open, and a broad nose with flared nostrils).5
• Polycystic kidney disease — This condition occurs when a cluster of cysts develops within your kidneys.
• Coffin-Lowry syndrome — Also a rare genetic disorder, this condition is characterized by mental retardation, abnormalities in the facial and head area, large soft hands with short, thin fingers, a short stature and skeletal abnormalities.6
Since consuming an unhealthy, low-fiber diet is the primarily avoidable culprit that causes diverticular disease, the best thing that you can do is follow healthy eating habits.
Opt for a varied diet loaded with whole organic foods, and stay away from highly processed foods. Not only do they load you with empty calories and harmful additives, but they also rob your body of healthy fibers that you need to keep your bowels healthy and moving through your colon with ease.