China, South Korea, India, and Mexico are just some of the places that Suresh Shah traveled to for his job. But, as someone suffering with inflammatory bowel disease, he was, at times, not the perfect traveling companion.
His inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) would sometimes cause him to have an acute attack at the most inconvenient times, affecting both his health and his work. And, Suresh would often return home with sudden weight loss.
In 2000, Suresh discovered that he was having problems with his digestive tract.
After many tests from his primary care physician, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
“For a while my IBD was under control, but then I would often have flare-ups during my travels. Finally, my primary care physician referred me to UPMC for advanced treatment. That’s where I met my UPMC IBD gastroenterologist, and he has been working with me since to provide the treatment that best suits me.”
When his IBD specialist began treating Suresh five years ago, he prescribed an immunomodulator.
This medicine targets and suppresses parts of the immune system that are “overactive” in IBD.
The medicine worked well, allowing Suresh to have more control over his IBD. His flare-ups decreased dramatically, allowing him to enjoy travel more.
Then, while on vacation in South America, Suresh had a sudden flare-up leading to a severe bout with IBD. He lost 15 pounds.
After returning to the states, he notified UPMC immediately.
His physician prescribed a different medicine for Suresh, assuring him that he could continue with traveling and other hobbies.
Since starting his new medicine, Suresh has not had any additional IBD attacks.
Triumphantly, Suresh said “looks like this is the drug for me.”
“My physician is doing an excellent job with my IBD problem, and he cares very much about me. I also think the recommended treatment works exceptionally well for me.”
Suresh's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.