Not many people are aware of this disease until perhaps they or someone they know is diagnosed with it.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that can affect any portion of the digestive system though it typically attacks the large intestine or the lower part of the small intestine. The areas affected may become swollen and be affected by ulceration.
Later, scar tissues form, which cause obstruction by making the intestine narrow.This condition can be accompanied with asthma and may lead to the development of arthritis, psoriasis, and bronchitis.
People with Crohn’s disease are at risk of developing a rare kind of cancer of the bowel called small bowel cancer and also colorectal cancer. People of any age are affected by it but it is generally diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 30.
What causes Crohn’s disease is not yet established. It has all the attributes of being an autoimmune disease, that is, the body’s immune system attacking its own cells. However, doctors say they believe that immune deficiencies cause this disease.
Genetic factors are likely to contribute to someone having a higher risk of contracting this condition as it runs in families. Some researchers say they feel that anti-tumor necrosis factor, which is a protein produced by the immune system, may also be a link.
People with this disease also manifest dietary complications in that they have a deficiency of vitamins, proteins and calories.
Stomach pain and diarrhea; blood in the stools and pus boils; mild fever and appetite loss; and inexplicable weight loss and general fatigue are the symptoms of this disease. These may vary and be a result of the rigorousness and site of the disease.
Sometimes patients will have mild symptoms for a while before it is diagnosed. If the symptoms are very severe over a period of a few weeks then it is best to seek medical advice and run some tests.
Typically the doctor will ask for blood and stool samples, and endoscopies and x-rays of the large and small intestines.
These tests will help establish if the patient indeed has Crohn’s disease. If there is doubt then a biopsy will help to prove it one way or another. The disease cannot be prevented and once it has taken root then there will be periods of acute attack and remission. Rest or hospitalization is advisable during an attack while you can live a normal life during periods of remission.
Crohn’s disease can lead to problems with digestion and iron deficiencies. Skin rashes, bleeding, and inflammation of the liver and joints can result. The intestines can also get inflamed and perforated.
Medication will help to keep the symptoms down and control the inflammation. The possibility of a relapse is always there and surgery of the affected part may be suggested to remove the source but the disease can take root in another part of the system.
The disease itself as well as the medications used to treat it may lead to low bone density and bone loss. A treatment of vitamin D supplements and calcium can, however, treat this condition.