Friday, January 2, 2009

Physical Health - Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease is a serious inflammatory disease of the gastronintestinal (GI) tract. Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines. It primarily causes ulcerations (breaks in the lining) of the small and large intestines, but can affect the digestive system anywhere from the mouth to the anus. It is named after the physician who described the disease in 1932. It also is called granulomatous enteritis or colitis, regional enteritis, ileitis, or terminal ileitis.

Crohn's disease is related closely to another chronic inflammatory condition that involves only the colon called ulcerative colitis. Together, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are frequently referred to as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease have no medical cure. Once the diseases begin, they tend to fluctuate between periods of inactivity (remission) and activity (relapse). They affect approximately 500,000 to two million people in the United States. Men and women are equally affected. IBD most commonly begins during adolescence and early adulthood, but it also can begin during childhood and later in life.

Crohn's disease tends to be more common in relatives of patients with Crohn's disease. It also is more common among relatives of patients with ulcerative colitis.

It prdominates in the intestine (ileum) and the large intestine (colon), but may occour in any section of the GI tract. Crohn's disease usually causes diarrea, crampy abdominal pain, often fever, and at times rectal bleeding. Loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss also may occur. Symptoms may range from mild to severe, but in general people with Crohn's disease can lead active and productive lives. Crohn's disease is chronic. We don't know its cause. Medication currently available decreases inflammation and usually controls the symptoms, but does not provide a cure. The diagnosis is suggested by the history (signs and symptomes). Additional testing to help make the diagnosis may include barium x-rays of the upper and lower GI tract, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and sometimes colonoscopy. The last two permit a direct examination of the colon with a lighted tube inserted through the anus. Druing these tests, biopsies may be obtaine to help make a diagnosis.) Laboratory tests are so helpful and include evaluation of the blood and stool. Several groups of drugs form the mainstay of therapy for Crohn's disease today. They are: Aminosalicylates (asprin like drugs); Corticosteriods; Immune modifiers; Antibiotics. Surgery becomes necessary in Crohn's disease when medications can no longer control the symptoms, or when there is an intestinal obstruction or other complication.

Contact: Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc. , National Headquarters, 386 Park Ave. South, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10016-8804; phone (212)685-3440; (800)932-2423; Fax: (212)779-4098; email: info@ccfa.org; website: http://www.ccfa.org/


8 comments:

Denise said...

Thanks for the information.

Jinxie said...

I live with Crohn's every day! Most of my diseases are inflammatory ones. GREAT information!

Beth in NC said...

My poor sister lives with Crohn's disease and is allergic to ALL meds that could help her. She has had two surgeries removing the diseased parts of her intestines, but it only came back. Her name is Kathy if you ever feel led to lift her up in prayer.

Love,
Beth

He And Me + 3 said...

I know two people with this disease, so the information was very informative. Thank you.

luvmy4sons said...

There are wonderful testimonies about people being cured of Crohn's disease through dietary changes...it is sad to see people suffer so. Great info.

Marsha said...

I'm going to be sure Missy comes over and sees this post... Stacy has Crohn's.

Sherry said...

I know several with this disease including a good friend and my SIL's mom.

Missy said...

Stacy takes several meds for Crohns that are helping him pretty well. He hasn't had a flair up in a while. One of the worst parts for him are the psoriasis and arthritis.