Crohn’s Disease

There are those of us that are blessed with perfect health and for that we should be extremely thankful because for every person that is lucky enough to live without disease there are hundreds that are not. Within the realm of disease, there are both acute and chronic conditions that are curable and unable to be cured at all. These are the most unfortunate circumstances. Not only is it extremely difficult living with an incurable condition, but when you have an illness such as Crohn’s Disease, you’ll find it difficult for anyone to understand. The reason that most people fail to understand Crohn’s Disease is not due to lack of sympathy, but due to the fact that most people have simply never heard of it before. The truth is that although Crohn’s Disease affects well over half a million people in the United States, the rest of the world simply hasn’t heard of it.

Crohn’s Disease is an auto-immune disease, which means that it occurs as a result of the body’s immune system attacking itself. In the instance of this disease, it is the digestive system that is attacked by the body. The problem with Crohn’s disease is that there is no cure currently, which means that affected people are forced to suffer with this condition for life. Luckily, there are some medications that can be used to treat the symptoms, but since most people are diagnosed at an early age, they must spend decades using these medications.

Crohn’s Disease seems to have a genetic link, meaning that it could be hereditary. The current research has yet to find an exact link, but the thoughts are that it lies in a certain chromosome. Some of the symptoms are abdominal pain, difficulty digesting food, out of the ordinary stool (diarrhea or constipation), and at worst vomiting and ulcerative colitis. Generally the symptoms come and go as the disease has “flare ups.” It is quite common for someone to think they have become asymptomatic, only to have a massive flare up once they stop taking their medication.

Due to the way that the body struggles to digest food properly, people with Crohn’s Disease are likely to suffer from bouts of fatigue and lack of overall energy. This is usually one of the warning signs that leads to a diagnosis, as doctor’s can use this clue to look at some of the deeper issues that have developed. Some of the tests that a doctor may perform in order to reach a diagnosis are a biopsy, endoscopy, or feces test. A doctor might also take a blood sample just to be sure.

To treat Crohn’s Disease, a doctor will usually prescribe a mix of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroids. These work in tandem to lessen the inflammation, minimize damage, and ease the gastrointestinal pain that results from such conditions. The patient might be told to eat smaller meals, stop smoking, get more exercise, and stay sufficiently hydrated. A low fiber diet might also help to relieve suffering.

Overall, Crohn’s Disease is a difficult disease to deal with because it requires both permanent medication and lifestyle changes, some of which are unpleasant. No one really wants to take medications for life, especially if they are bound to cause side effects, such as weight gain or liver damage. Still, when it comes to auto-immune diseases, there really isn’t much of a chance to stop the symptoms otherwise. Maybe in the future researchers will find a cure to diseases like this, but in the meantime the best thing you can do is make sure that you schedule regular doctor’s visits, especially if someone in your family has been diagnosed with this disease.

Last updated on Mar 29th, 2009 and filed under Digestive Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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