Although diverticula are common after reaching age 40, when they get infected they can cause a serious medical problem. Diverticula are small pouches of skin that will form on the wall lining for a person’s digestive tract. They often form in the lower part of the large intestine or the colon.
However, these small pouches can become inflamed or infected. The condition is known as diverticulitis. The infection can cause many symptoms of which the most common are severe pain in the abdomen, nausea and marked changes in a person’s bowel habits.
If the diverticulitis is mild, it can be treated with antibiotics, rests and dietary changes. But the severe or recurring type may need to be operated.
Although symptoms can vary from one individual to the other, the most common signs are:
- Persistent pain that has been going on for several days and it’s located on the lower left side of the abdomen, but can also occur on the right. This is especially common to people of Asian descent.
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Tenderness of the abdomen
- Constipation or Diarrhea
The development of diverticula occurs when natural weak places in your colon will give way to pressure. This will result in marble-sized pouches that will protrude through the colon wall. When these pouches will tear for some reason, infection sets in.
There are several risk factors that will increase an individual’s chance of developing diverticulitis.
- Aging. Along with age, the incidence of inflammation to the diverticula increases.
- Obesity. Being too overweight increases the likelihood of you developing diverticulitis. Being morbidly obese will give you the risk of needing more-invasive treatments for diverticulitis.
- Smoking. Smokers have a high chance of experiencing diverticulitis.
- Lack of Exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of developing diverticulitis.
- Diet high in animal fat and low on fiber.
- Certain medications.
There are serious complications if the inflammation is left untreated.
If you think you are suffering from Diverticulitis you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Diverticulitis as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).