- Risk Factors
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. It belongs to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It can affect any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to anus, but it generally affects the small intestine and the initial part of the large intestine.
What are the complications of Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is not usually life-threatening although it can cause severe or fatal complications, which include the following
- Bowel obstruction
- Fistulas: Abnormal passages between a hollow or tubular organ and the body surface or between two hollow or tubular organs.
- Abscesses: Pus-filled pockets of infection.
- Anal fissures: Small tears in the anus.
- Ulcers or open sores in the mouth, intestine or anus
- Inflammation around the joints, eyes or skin
Appropriate treatment can augment the possibility of a good recovery.
What are the five types of Crohn's disease?
There are five types of Crohn’s disease. Each has its unique symptoms, which are as follows
- Ileocolitis: It is the most common type of Crohn’s disease and affects the ileum and colon of the small intestine. Symptoms of ileocolitis include
- Ileitis: It affects only the ileum and may cause the formation of fistulas. Symptoms of ileitis include
- Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease: This form affects the stomach and the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum). Symptoms include
- Jejunoileitis: It mainly affects the middle portion of the small intestine (jejunum). It may present as
- Crohn's (Granulomatous) colitis: It affects the colon and symptoms include
Who can get Crohn’s disease?
People with the following risk factors are at an increased risk of getting Crohn’s disease. These include
- Family history
- Takes certain medications such as antibiotics, birth control pills and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Consumes a high-fat diet
- High risk ethnic background such as African-American and Caucasian
- Age between 15 and 35 years old
- Exposure to environmental factors such as pollution
What procedures and tests diagnose Crohn's disease?
There are no specific tests or procedures to diagnose Crohn’s disease. The physician evaluates the symptoms and uses information from diagnostic testing to exclude other potential causes.
The common diagnostic tests include:
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What is the treatment for Crohn’s disease?
Various treatment options help to control the disease and help patients lead a full and rewarding life. Treatment options include:
Medications suppress inflammation by reducing the activity of the immune system. They also help reduce the symptoms and lower the risk of complications. Mostly, antidiarrheals, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or antibiotics are used.
Bowel rest involves restricting eating any food by mouth to give the bowel a rest.
Surgery is useful to treat complications and reduce symptoms when other treatments are not useful.
Incorporating the following dietary changes helps to reduce symptoms
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