Diverticular disease involves inflammation and infection of the abnormal pouches that form on the intestine wall. The Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) states that one-third of Australians over the age of 45 years have diverticular disease, whilst two-thirds over the age of 85 years have this condition. Thus, this condition is very common and many are unaware they have it.
A low fibre intake is an important risk factor for developing diverticular disease. This is because constipation can arise with a low fibre diet, resulting in harder stools that require more pressure to push them along the intestine. It is this added pressure which can cause these pouches to develop.