Crohn’s Disease – Facts & Signs You Should Know About
Crohn’s Disease is a long-term chronic condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. The disease is named after Dr. Burrill Crohn who along with his two colleagues Leon Ginzburg and Gordon Oppenheimer, “Regional ileitis: a pathologic and clinical entity” detailing the elements of the disease in 1932. The name Crohn was associated with the disease due to the precedence of Dr. Crohn’s name in the Alphabet. Thus, instead of having the names of the three doctors, the populace with Crohn’s disease instead.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, Crohn’s Disease is a chronic condition or a type of inflammatory bowel disease affecting the gastrointestinal tract. The disease is commonly diagnosed in Northern Countries and is lower in Africa and Asia. Studies show that Crohn’s Disease is commonly found in people in their teenage years up to their 20s or later in their 50s to 70s. Although patients who are diagnosed with the disease are unlikely to die, life-threatening complications can develop over time if the disease is left unchecked.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s Disease comes with common symptoms that most people ignore thus allowing the disease to remain unchecked for a long time until the symptoms become unbearable. Knowing the symptoms as early as possible will help the patient manage the disease as early as possible. With that said, it is highly recommended to visit your doctor when the symptoms become redundant.
Early Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
- Recurring diarrhea
- Recurring abdominal cramps
- Seeing blood in your stool
- Constant fatigue
- Sudden loss of appetite
- Unusual weight loss
- An unusual feeling that your bowels are not empty after a bowel movement
- A frequent need for bowel movements
Do take note that the symptoms may be due to other diseases however, a visit to the doctor will be beneficial if the symptoms become frequent. Ignoring the symptoms, on the other hand, will lead to more severe symptoms.
Severe symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
- Perianal fistula – causes pain and drainage near your anus
- The occurrence of ulcers anywhere from the mouth to the anus
- The inflammation of the patient’s joints and skin
- Anemia that results in shortness of breath and decreased ability to exercise
Types of Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s Disease known for its general description and characteristics comes in four distinct types. Each type has its own symptoms, which, for the most part, provides a narrower breakdown of the various symptoms of the disease.
- Ileitis, for the most part, is similar to the ileocolitis. The main difference between the two types is that patients with Ileitis have a high chance of developing fistulas, which is an inflammatory abscess in the lower right part of the abdomen.
- Ilecolitis is a type of Crohn’s disease that causes irritation and inflammation of the lower part of the intestine. Patients who have this type of Crohn’s Disease will experience symptoms like diarrhea, weight loss, and cramping of the lower-right region of the abdomen.
- Jejunoileitis causes inflammation to the second part of the small intestine. Due to the inflammation, the patient may experience cramps after a meal, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and fistulas.
Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease
- Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease affects the first part of the small intestine. Patients with this type of Crohn’s Disease may experience vomiting, nausea, and loss or lack of appetite which will eventually lead to weight loss. Due to intestinal inflammation, the patient may vomit if small parts of the bowel are blocked.
Crohn’s (Granulomatous) Colitis
- Crohn’s Colitis affects the colon or the main part of the large intestine. This type causes ulcers, abscesses, and ulcers around the anus. The person with this type of Crohn’s Disease may experience lesions on the skin, joint pains, bleeding in the rectum, and diarrhea.
Crohn’s Disease despite existing for a long time does not have any known cure. Nevertheless, early detection can prevent the disease from evolving. With that said, there is various type of treatments applicable to make the disease more manageable.
- The first type of treatment for Crohn’s Disease is through medication. This type of treatment usually targets the elements that cause the symptoms of the disease. Crohn’s Disease Medication usually involves the use of Anti-inflammatory drugs, Steroids, Antibiotics, and Anti-diarrheal medicine.
- Surgery is an option considered by doctors when the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease become unmanageable. This procedure involves the removal of the infected part of the intestine and correcting implications. Surgery despite being an effective method of controlling the disease, is not considered a cure. This is because of the inflammation often returns.
- Biologics is a newly developed drug focused on targeting proteins that causes inflammation. Studies show that these drugs developed from living organisms are a great help to those suffering from Crohn’s Disease. Patients who undergo biologics treatment may experience some side effects like vomiting, nausea, and weak infection resistance. In addition, biologics can also reduce the chances of a patient getting abdominal surgery in the future.
Knowing the Factors is Half the Battle
Although the main cause of Crohn’s Disease remains unclear, most specialists consider various factors as the cause of the disease. These factors include the environment, Immune system, and genetics. With that said, knowing the details about your family’s pre-existing diseases will be beneficial for you in the future. In addition, the severity of Crohn’s Disease depends on the patient’s habits like smoking, age, the involvement of the rectum, and the longevity of the disease.
To that end, the most common preventive measure for Crohn’s Disease is through dietary changes. Simple changes like limiting your intake of fat, dairy, and fiber. It is also highly recommended to drink water regularly. These changes will take you a step ahead from Crohn’s Disease.