What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation of the intestine or GT tract which is also known as the digestive tract. Since it is a chronic illness, so it’s persistent and will be present throughout a patient’s life.
The GI tract includes the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anal region. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of GI tract but the most common location is the last part of the small intestine, called the ileum, and the first portion of the colon or the large intestine.
People develop Crohn’s disease between the ages of 15 and 35, although the disease can occur at any age.
– Pain areas: in the abdomen, joints, lower abdomen.
– Pain types: can be mild or severe.
– Abdominal: cramping or tenderness.
– Gastrointestinal: blood in stool, bowel obstruction, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, or flatulence.
– Whole body: fatigue, loss of appetite or fever.
– Also common: anal fissure, weight loss, depression, mouth ulcer or skin tags.
The symptom of the disease varies, depending on where the disease and its severity is. This implies that every patient with Crohn’s disease experiences the disease differently. This chronic inflammation is what causes the signs of Crohn’s disease.
Although there are many theories about what causes the disease, the exact cause is still unknown. Previously, diet and stress were presumed as the primary causes, but now doctors know that these factors may aggravate and not cause the disease. However, current thinking is that the Crohn’s disease is a genetic disease caused by abnormal regulation of the immune system. The GI tract frequently gets confronted with bacteria through our diet and environment, consequently causing the disease.
Many factors can contribute to a person’s risk of having Crohn’s disease. But most can be of these categories:
– Genetic predisposition– Genes play an important role. Crohn’s is more common in people who have family members with the disease.
– Environmental factors– These factors may help trigger Crohn’s disease. Associated environmental factors may include any of the following: microbes such as bacteria, or viruses, cigarette smoke or other substances that are still unknown.
There’s no firm evidence that what you eat actually causes this inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore, it is diagnosed using a number of tests so as to distinguish it from other gastrointestinal conditions. These tests include- endoscopy, stool tests, blood tests, Barium X-ray (small bowel series) X-rays are often taken for either the upper or lower intestine CT scan, and MRI.
There is no cure for Crohn’s disease, although there are treatments that can help manage the disease by reducing the number of times a patient experiences recurrences. The goals for treatment are also to improve long-term prognosis by limiting complications. And further, to reduce inflammation, relieve symptoms of pain and bleeding and to eliminate nutritional deficiencies.
Medication for Crohn’s disease includes anti- inflammation drugs, steroids and antibiotics. Other than these, there are Nutritional supplements and therapy, immune system suppressors and surgery.
Around 3 in 20 people with Crohn’s have a close relative with the condition; and, if an identical twin has Crohn’s disease, the other twin has a 70 percent chance of having it, too.
Crohn’s disease is like other long term conditions which may affect one’s mood. One may feel more anxious and depressed at times. The pain that a person suffers from may also affect one’s emotions. If your condition starts to get to you, do consider consulting your doctor. Sometimes you may feel helpless about the disease but a few certain changes in your diet and lifestyle may help control your symptoms and lengthen the time between flare-ups.
Edited by Preetika Dubey