Digestive diseases are among the leading causes of doctor visits, hospitalizations, and disability in the United States each year. These conditions span a wide spectrum of disorders that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, as well as obesity and other nutrition-related disorders. Some digestive diseases, such as celiac disease, can be triggered by the body’s reaction to certain foods. Digestive diseases can cause serious complications ranging from severe pain to elevated risk of cancer to liver failure.
NIDDK-supported scientists are investigating the complex interactions among the genetic, environmental, immune, microbial, and cellular factors that contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and other digestive disorders. This research, in turn, may lead to improved diagnosis and prevention approaches, and catalyze the design of novel therapeutic strategies.
NIDDK also supports research to better understand the genes that predispose individuals to develop celiac disease, which may improve early diagnosis of the disease, before damage occurs. NIDDK-funded scientists are working on how GI microorganisms influence the development and function of the digestive tract and immune and metabolic functions.
The NIDDK’s National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse provides information about digestive diseases to people with digestive disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. The Clearinghouse answers inquiries via phone and email, as well as provides access to online resources and publications.