Crohn’s Disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract. Crohn’s is a rare condition with less than 200,00 cases diagnosed in the US annually. Diagnosis is required and lab testing and imaging is often also required. Crohn’s can last for years or be a lifelong condition. Crohn’s at its worst can be a life-threatening condition causing severe diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and even in its worse cases tears in the digestive system that allow for internal bleeding.
Crohn’s can be of varying levels of severity. Some patients with Crohn’s Disease only experience occasional flare-ups. Some others have constant problems that never seem to end. Some cases fall somewhere in between. Crohn’s has no cure but medications like steroids or immune-suppressants can be used to slow its progress. The most severe cases of Crohn’s Disease may see the patient benefit from surgeries to help repair gastro-intestinal and colorectal damage done by the disease.
Crohn’s can develop at any age, but is most likely to develop in people ages 19-40 years of age. Crohn’s generally infects the end of the small bowel, but it can also infect any part of the gastro-intestinal mouth including infections from the mouth all the way through to the anus flaring up when the disease is active. Crohn’s can also thin the bowel walls over time due to the constant inflammation of the condition.
Crohn’s patients often experience a loss of appetite and also a dramatic weight loss even though they do not want to or plan to lose the weight. Many cases of Crohn’s can be further treated with reasonable adjustments to the diet the person follows. Foods that “trigger” inflammation will only make the case of Crohn’s worse than it already is. Finding out which foods to avoid, and then following a strictly regimented diet can help the person avoid suffering from any further symptoms of the condition. Doctors and specialists can help pinpoint these certain “trigger” foods, and enlist in the help of a nutritionist to create a meal plan that avoids those certain foods while still ensuring the person receives adequate nutrition.
Crohn’s is even more concerning when rarely diagnosed in a small child it is even of more concern as it can cause stunted growth if it is during the child’s most formative years. When the colon and GI tract become severely infected tears and rips in the wall lining can result in both internal bleeding and causation of fistulas to develop requiring emergency surgery.