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Is Diverticulitis Hereditary?

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Story at-a-glance -

  • A recent study analysis now provides evidence that a link exists between genetics and diverticular disease
  • Diverticulitis is not infectious. Living, interacting or sharing things with a person with any type of diverticular disease will not put you at risk of this condition

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. But is there really a link between genetics and diverticular diseases? A recent study analysis now provides evidence that a link exists.

Diverticular Disease and Diverticulitis May Have Some Hereditary Link

A genome-wide association study was conducted to search for potential genes that have a role in the development of this intestinal illness. The researchers, headed by colorectal surgeon Dr. Lillias Maguire, sorted through the genetic and medical information of over 500,000 people ages 40 to 69 years old, to check for common genetic variants that might identify potential genes behind diverticular disease. In a report published on the University of Michigan Medicine website, Maguire said:1

"[T]he genes we saw seemed to make sense. We identified genes for connective tissue cells, pathways that we know are associated with other connective tissues, hernia, and other diseases like aneurysmal vascular diseases that are also connective tissue-related. We see this and start to think, 'OK, we're hitting something good.'"

4 Conditions That May Also Predispose You to Diverticulosis

Diverticulitis is not infectious.2 Living, interacting or sharing things with a person with any type of diverticular disease will not put you at risk of this condition. However, aside from the genetic link, there are other genetic disorders that could predispose you to this condition, particularly to the formation of diverticulum.3 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.4

Williams-Beuren syndrome — Also known as Williams syndrome, this rare disorder occurs when a person lacks chromosome 7, which has 25 genes.

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.6

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.7

Since consuming an unhealthy, low-fiber diet is believed to be a potential cause of diverticular disease,8 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 which not only are full of empty calories and harmful additives, but which also rob your body of healthy fibers that you need to keep your bowels healthy and moving through your colon with ease.

MORE ABOUT DIVERTICULITIS

Diverticulitis: Introduction

What Is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis Causes

Diverticulitis Types

Is Diverticulitis Hereditary?

Diverticulitis Signs and Symptoms

Diverticulitis Treatment

Diverticulitis Prevention

Diverticulitis Diet

Diverticulitis FAQ

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