Rate of Crohn’s and Colitis in Edinburgh increases

01 August 2019

New research from the University of Edinburgh has revealed that 1 in 125 people in Edinburgh have Crohn’s or Colitis, which is one of the highest rates in the world. The researchers predict that this will rise to 1 in 98 by 2028. 

The study, published in scientific journal Gut and led by Dr Charlie Lees and Dr Gareth-Rhys Jones, found that Crohn’s affects 284 people out of every 100,000 in Edinburgh, and Colitis affects 432 people out of every 100,000.

The team use data from primary and secondary care, as well as a paediatric registry to conduct their research and health records to confirm their findings. 

The figure is significantly higher than the 1 in 210 people said to be living with Crohn’s and Colitis in the UK, although there is growing evidence that this figure has changed in recent years.


We feel this work highlights clearly the current and future scale of IBD; a condition we see disrupting the lives of patients and their families all too frequently. This will not only generate increased public awareness but also drive the necessary resources for the research, treatment and care patients deserve.

Dr Gareth-Rhys Jones
clinical lecturer in IBD at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Inflammation Research

Dr Charlie Lees, a consultant gastroenterologist in the Edinburgh IBD Unit, added: “There is no doubt that IBD is now becoming a global pandemic, with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis more common across the world. This work shows just how big the problem has become, not just in Edinburgh, but across much of the western world. This study provides much-needed data and can act as a launchpad for pivotal new studies to help patients.”

Sarah Sleet, CEO of Crohn’s & Colitis UK, said: “This important study contributes to the growing evidence that the prevalence of IBD is significantly higher than currently recognised. Crohn’s and Colitis are a hidden and growing health crisis and the number of people living with the conditions is huge. Crohn’s & Colitis UK are currently undertaking a prevalence study and we are looking forward to seeing how UK wide results compare to the Edinburgh wide results in this research next year. These shocking higher figures must influence decision making in the NHS, and push forward the case for increased resources, improvements to IBD services and ultimately better care for people with Crohn’s and Colitis.”


► Find out more about Crohn's & Colitis UK research