Crohn’s disease can be debilitating, and it can produce severe symptoms. At the same time, Crohn’s disease can have a wide range of symptoms that can be similar to other diseases, and as such, it is extremely important to discuss your symptoms with a healthcare provider. If you do need treatment for Crohn’s disease and find yourself debilitated by this illness, you should consider home healthcare services, which may be available to you at no cost if you are an EEOICPA/RECA beneficiary. To determine whether you may be eligible for home health services related to your Crohn’s disease, it is necessary first to determine whether your symptoms are linked to Crohn’s disease or to another medical issue.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
What is Crohn’s disease? According to the Mayo Clinic, Crohn’s disease is one type of inflammatory bowel disease or IBD. The Mayo Clinic explains that Crohn’s disease “Causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition.” Depending upon the person, different areas of an individual’s digestive tract can be affected by Crohn’s disease.
There is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease. Instead, people who are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease typically rely on therapies to reduce the signs and symptoms of the disease. If Crohn’s disease goes untreated, it “often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue.” For many people with this disease, it becomes “both painful and debilitating,” and in some cases, it can be life-threatening. As an article in the peer-reviewed journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology underscores, the first visit to a healthcare provider about Crohn’s symptoms can be essential for beginning treatment.
Understanding the Varied Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
Depending upon the specific person affected by Crohn’s disease, the signs and symptoms can vary. In some people with Crohn’s disease, the ileum (or the small intestine) is the only segment of the digestive system that is affected. In other people, the colon (or a section of the large intestine) is the only affected area. And in yet other people, both the small intestine and the colon are both affected.
When a person has Crohn’s disease, the severity of the symptoms can vary widely. In some people, symptoms will be mild. However, in many patients with Crohn’s disease, symptoms are severe. The way in which symptoms appear can also vary significantly from patient to patient, making it difficult to immediately identify the symptoms a person experiences as those associated with Crohn’s disease. For example, some people who suffer from this disease have symptoms that come on gradually, while other people will experience sudden symptoms without any previous warning signs. For some Crohn’s disease patients, symptoms are constant while others will have periods of remission in which there are no obvious signs or symptoms.
The Mayo Clinic highlights the varied nature of Crohn’s disease symptoms to underscore the importance of getting a diagnosis from a healthcare provider. Just because a person experiences some of the signs or symptoms of Crohn’s does not mean that the person has this disease. To be sure, the signs and symptoms may be attributed to numerous other diseases and conditions that require assessment and treatment from a healthcare provider. At the same time, however, it is important to know what the symptoms of Crohn’s disease can be in order to prepare for your appointment.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
When a person has active symptoms of Crohn’s disease, the Mayo Clinic indicates that signs may include but are not limited to the following:
- Abdominal pain;
- Abdominal cramping;
- Blood in the stool;
- Mouth sores;
- Reduced appetite;
- Weight loss;
- Pain near or around the anus;
- Drainage near or around the anus;
- Inflammation of the skin;
- Inflammation of the eyes;
- Inflammation of the joints;
- Inflammation of the liver;
- Inflammation of the bile ducts;
- Delayed growth in children; and/or
- Delayed sexual development in children.
In general, if a person experiences persistent changes in his or her bowel habits and any of the symptoms listed above, it is extremely important to visit with your doctor to determine the cause of the symptoms. If you do have Crohn’s disease, there may be therapies available to help you manage the symptoms.
Learn More About Your Options for Managing Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
Crohn’s disease symptoms can vary from person to person, and they can range from mild to severe. When you are experiencing Crohn’s disease symptoms, it is extremely important to seek help from a healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis and to begin therapies that can alleviate some of your symptoms. If Crohn’s disease symptoms are debilitating, you also may be eligible for home health services through United Energy Workers Healthcare.