Quite simply stated, Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s Disease causes chronic inflammation to the digestive tract causing excruciating abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea which can sometimes be bloody and serious weight loss.
If you acquired Crohn’s Disease as a result of exposure to harmful substances at your job, it may be covered under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). You should contact UEW Healthcare for assistance.
Inflammation that results from Crohn’s Disease affects different parts of the digestive tract in different people. However, it often affects the small and large intestines. The inflammation seeps into the deeper layers of the bowel tissue causing the victim pain and in the worst-case scenario can be life-threatening.
There is no cure for Crohn’s Disease. However, with treatment, you can reduce the effects of the disease and in more successful circumstances cause remission of the disease. People undergoing certain therapies combating Crohn’s Disease live a full and active life.
Signs and symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s Disease is peculiar in that you can have periods where the signs and symptoms are really severe then followed by minimal or extended periods of no symptoms at all. The unique nature of the disease makes it impossible to treat.
The symptoms of Crohn’s Disease can be mild or severe depending on the stage of the disease and the part of the body that the disease afflicts.
The most common symptoms of Crohn’s Disease include:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Weight loss as a result of a reduced appetite
- Unrelenting abdominal pain, tenderness, and cramping
- You can feel a heavy mass in your stomach similar to a feeling of being full
- Mouth sores
- Rectal bleeding
- A tunnel in the skin surrounding the anus leading to pain and/or drainage
There are symptoms that are unique to severe Crohn’s Disease and include:
- Swelling of skin, eyes, and joints
- Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
- Retarded growth or sexual development in children
Causes of Crohn’s Disease
The exact root cause of Crohn’s Disease is still a mystery. An unhealthy diet and stress may exacerbate the disease but they are not the cause.
There are two factors that play a significant part in the development of Crohn’s Disease:
When the immune system is triggered to defend the body due to a foreign virus or bacterium, an anomalous response by the immune system may lead to an attack of the cells in the digestive tract. (Goldman L, 2017)
People with a history of Crohn’s Disease in their family are more likely to contract the disease. Genes play a critical role in the malady’s development.
On the contrary, most people with Crohn’s Disease don’t have a history of the disease in their family.
Risk factors of Crohn’s Disease
- Age: you are more likely to fall victim to Crohn’s Disease if you are young. Most Crohn’s Disease diagnosis happens before the age of 30.
- Race: Crohn’s Disease can befall a person of any race. However, white people and people of Eastern European Jewish heritage are more susceptible to the disease
- Genetics: a history of Crohn’s Disease in your family makes you more likely to be a victim of the disease.
- Cigarette smoking: a cigarette smoker has a higher chance of contracting Crohn’s Disease than a non-smoker.
- Residence: people living in urban or industrialized regions are more likely to fall victim to Crohn’s Disease.
Complications of Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s Disease can lead to the following complications:
- Anal fissures
- Bowel obstruction
- Skin disorders
- Colon cancer
- Liver disease
- Medication risks
Treating Crohn’s Disease
There is no absolute cure for Crohn’s Disease but certain modes of treatment can help patients lead relatively normal lives.
You can reduce the effect of Crohn’s Disease through the following medicines:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Immune system modifiers
- Diarrhea drugs
- Biologic medicines
About 66-75% of Crohn’s disease patients undergo surgery. Surgery is often done to treat complications of Crohn’s Disease when medications fail.
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Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease without a known cure. The signs and symptoms of Crohn’s Disease range from mild to severe. There can also be periods of intense symptoms and periods of no symptoms at all.
The two factors that influence the development of Crohn’s Disease: the immune system response and heredity. Crohn’s Diseases symptoms can be alleviated through either medicine or surgery.