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Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease of the gastrointestinal tract (GI). In 1932 Crohn’s disease was explicated by Dr. Burill B. Crohn, whom the disease was also named after, and his two fellow colleagues Dr. Leon Ginzburg and Dr. Gordon D. Oppenheimer. Crohn’s is a chronic disease that affects men and women equally. It is caused by inflammation of the lining of a person’s digestive tract. Even though we know what it does to the body the cause of this disease is still not understood, nor is there a cure for this disease. Crohn’s affects the GI tract which normally contains harmless bacteria. Your immune system attacks and kills anything else that does not belong such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms. Harmless bacteria in the intestines are protected in normal people but when you have IBD, the bacteria is mistaken as a bacteria, virus, fungi, or any microorganism that does not belong and the immune system gives a response. However, the inflammation does not subside, which ends up leading to chronic inflammation, ulceration, thickening of the intestinal wall, and eventually causing the affected person’s symptoms.

Where does Crohn’s disease come from? While there has been a lot of speculation on the cause of Crohn’s disease there has not been a definite answer so it is still unknown. However, knowing the possible causes like it could be hereditary will help you to better understand the signs and symptoms. Also, it will prepare you to seek proper medical attention if needed.

Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever, weight loss, anemia, sores in the mouth, nutritional deficiencies, bowel obstruction, signs in or around the anus, abscesses, fissures, hemorrhoids, and fistulas (abnormal openings that sometimes form between organs). Although some may notice a lot of these symptoms and believe that it is possible that they have the disease it is better to contact your doctor. If the doctor feels it is necessary to seek attention for the symptoms that have occurred they will go through the adequate test to verify if it is Crohn’s disease.

With all disease, there comes complications and with Crohn’s, it is no different. When a person suffers from Crohn’s disease it can affect their skin, joints, spine, eyes, liver, and bile ducts. Also, it can cause jaundice, recurrent bacterial infections, and liver cirrhosis. Recent data also has suggested that there can be a risk of cancer of the small intestine and colon in patients, but studies show that it has not been verified so it is just a theory as of now.

Diagnosing Crohn’s disease is not simple, it can not be done with one single test. Because of the similarities of Crohn’s symptoms and other health problems symptoms, it is best to make sure any other health problem is ruled out first. Then your doctor will attempt to diagnose you by getting a better understanding of your health history. Next, your doctor will try to do any lab work needed for testing to see if any signs of the disease appear. In addition, to the labs, they will also need to get images of your intestines so they can perform an endoscopy. This will give them a chance to look all down your intestines and locate anything that an X-ray or CAT scan may have not picked up. Other methods they will use to test a person will be a barium x-ray, they will perform a colonoscopy, or even have you swallow a video capsule endoscopy.

Treatment for Crohn’s is normally medicine. In some cases where the symptoms are more severe stronger medicine, a combination of medications, or surgery may be needed. When a patient is first diagnosed with this disease and it is early on with some symptoms but not extreme your doctor will prescribe you with an antidiarrheal medication to stop the pain in the intestines. As symptoms go into a more moderate state aminosalicylates, antibiotics, corticosteroids, medicine that suppress the immune system, or biologics will be recommended for the use to fight the inflammation. However, these drugs will not be prescribed for permanent use but only to clear up the inflammation that is occurring at that time. When symptoms worsen to a severe level, medicines will be administered through an intravenous. As well as permanently prescribed medication when all symptoms have deceased this will help keep the patient as free of symptoms as possible. Most people with Crohn’s disease are able to live a normal lifestyle as long as adequate care is being portrayed as well as a proper medication regimen.



www.ccfa.org  Crohn’s and Colitis Founding of America

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