Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic, relapsing intestinal inflammatory disorder with unidentified causes. Both environmental factors and genetic aspects are believed to be crucial to the pathogenesis of IBD. The incidence and prevalence of IBD have recently been increasing throughout Asia, presumably secondary to environmental changes. This increasing trend in IBD epidemiology necessitates specific health care planning and education in Asia. To this end, we must gain a precise understanding of the distinctive clinical and therapeutic characteristics of Asian patients with IBD. The phenotypes of IBD reportedly differ considerably between Asians and Caucasians. Thus, use of the same management strategies for these different populations may not be appropriate. Moreover, investigation of the Asian-specific clinical aspects of IBD offers the possibility of identifying causative factors in the pathogenesis of IBD in this geographical area. Accordingly, this review summarizes current knowledge of the phenotypic manifestations and management practices of patients with IBD, with a special focus on a comparison of Eastern and Western perspectives.
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