Crohn's Disease and You

by Janie Jonah - Date: 2006-12-02 - Word Count: 493 Share This!

If you have recently been diagnosed with Crohn's disease or another Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis you are not alone. As many as one million Americans have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. There is no gender divide in those that it strikes, but develops more commonly among those who are between 15 and 35. Unfortunately like most diseases it can actually strike at any age. Some figures suggest that about 10% or 100,000 sufferers in America are under the age of 18.

Genes play a major role, 200 - 25 found in family, this increases the risk of developing IBD at 10 times the norm and with a brother or sister the likelihood of developing it increases to t300 times the norm. Strangely, when we look at the disease from a racial perspective, it seems somewhat selective. The disease occurs more often in whites, and in particular Jews. Jews in America are 5 times more likely to develop the disease than any other ethnic or racial group in the US. IBD is also more prevalent in 1st world countries than others, in particularly in the Europe and the U.S. More common in built-up urban areas than in rural areas, it is also strangely more common in the northern hemisphere than the southern hemisphere.

Let us now look at the symptoms of Crohn's disease. Symptoms of Crohn's disease, like most other illnesses, differ from one person to another as well as their severity. There are some symptoms which occur in all sufferers, which are persistent diarrhea, abdominal pains,rectal bleeding and fever. Other symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite leading to marked weight loss. In adolescents and children it can affect growth, delaying it and sexual development. Given the symptoms, one would be forgiven for thinking that Crohn's can be a debilitating disease, but in fact that is not the case. Crohn's disease is chronic but the person can go through periods of remission where symptoms can be reduced or disappear completely, allowing them to lead productive and happy lives.

Crohn's disease has no known cure. Medication is used to reduce the inflammation associated with the disease. This helps the damaged tissue to heal, reducing the abdominal pain associated with the disease, and also reduces fever and the pain caused by the disease. Once this medication has placed the patent's disease into remission, therapy is then used to reduce the chances of relapse. Surgery is something that most sufferers will have to face at some point or another. Medication can only help so far as to control the symptoms, but they may progress to the point where medication is ineffective. Surgery is used most commonly to remove a segment of the bowel including an abscess or intestinal obstruction.Re-sectioning the bowel is completed when the two healthy ends of the bowel are joined together. This procedure can allow the person to lead years of trouble free healthy lives, it is not considered a cause for Crohn's disease.

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Author: Janie Jonah
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