Steve Redgrave health: The former Olympian’s painful health condition – the symptoms
Steve Redgrave’s accomplishments in the world of rowing are unparalleled. Yet, the athlete had been battling a painful health condition. What is it?
The 57-year-old has supported Crohn’s and Colitis UK – a charity dedicated to inflammatory bowel diseases – since 1994.
It was back in 1992 when the Olympian was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
In a statement to the charity, Simon said: “There were times when it seemed as if colitis would prevent me from reaching that fifth gold medal.
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“But, with the right medical treatment, I’ve been able to keep the illness under control and continue with my life, both in training during my career as a professional athlete and in my life beyond the boat.”
What is ulcerative colitis?
Crohn’s and Colitis UK state the condition causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the large bowel – affecting the colon and rectum.
Ulcers develop on the surface of the bowel lining and these may bleed and produce mucus.
Described as a chronic condition, it’s lifelong – with periods of remission (where no symptoms surface) and flare-ups.
Ulcerative Colitis: The symptoms
Symptoms may range from mild to severe – depending on how much of the colon is inflamed and how severe the inflammation is.
Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include diarrhoea, often mixed with blood and mucus, and cramping pains in the abdomen.
It’s not unusual for people with the condition to feel fatigued. This can be due to the illness itself, or from a lack of sleep due to waking up in the night with pain or diarrhoea.
People may experience a loss of appetite and may lose weight.
Additionally, some may generally feel unwell – feeling feverish, with a fast heartbeat.
Anaemia can also result from the condition if you’re losing a lot of blood and not eating well.
What causes ulcerative colitis?
Although there has been much research on the illness, the exact cause of the condition is still unknown.
Researchers believe the illness is caused by a combination of factors – that being the genes somebody has inherited, an abnormal reaction of the immune system and a trigger in the environment.
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Supporting the informative work provided by Crohn’s and Colitis UK, Simon added: “[For people with the condition] just trying to lead a normal life is a real test of courage and determination.
“I know the impact of these diseases – it’s important to have good information, understanding and support.”
It is estimated that ulcerative colitis affects about one in every 420 people in the UK.
Management of the condition includes drugs, lifestyle tips and even surgery.
The main purpose of drug treatment is to reduce the inflammation.
There are four main types of drugs administered to those with the condition: aminosalicylates, steroids, immunosuppressants and biological drugs.
Booklets provided by the charity details advice on diet, exercise and emotionally dealing with a diagnosis.
For more information, please visit Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
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