Inflammatory bowel disease in African Americans
Ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) are idiopathic inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. The two disorders encompass a wide spectrum of clinical presentations and are diagnosed on the basis of their clinical, endoscopic, radiologic, and histologic features. Combined, the two disorders affect approximately 800,000 patients in the United States. An assessment of the epidemiology of these disorders is complicated by a wide range of factors including the absence of population based registries in ethnically diverse regions, the use of retrospective data, and highly variable clinical presentations which may delay or obscure the diagnosis. In this paper we review the available data regarding the epidemiology, clinical presentation, and clinical course of inflammatory bowel disease in African Americans.