The truth about Crohn's Disease

The truth about Crohn's Disease

By Chris Coyne

As recently as ten years ago, most people had never heard of a condition called Crohn's Disease. Today, we'd venture to guess that most people have not only heard of it, but know someone that has it. But what do we really know about this disease, and what can be done about it?

Even with its increased presence, Crohn's is still a relatively misunderstood disease; and Healthy Life thought it would be helpful to pass along some of the facts and myths about a condition that affects (According to Crohn's and Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America: disease may affect as many as 700,000 Americans. Men and Women are equally likely to be affected, and while the disease can occur at any age, Crohn's is more prevalent among adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35.)more and more Americans every year.

What is Crohn's Disease?
Crohn's is a chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive tract that, along with ulcerative colitis falls under the heading of IBD, or Inflammatory bowel disease. In the simplest terms, with IBD the body's immune system attacks harmless bacteria that aids in digestion causing inflammation. It is NOT the same as IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, that is a functional disorder of the intestines. Crohn's can occur anywhere in the digestive tract from the mouth on down, but most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine. The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and weight loss.

What's the cause of Crohn's Disease?
That's a tough one. There are many theories; factors such as diet and stress can aggravate Crohn's disease, but are not thought to cause the disease on their own. Research suggests that heredity, genetics and environmental factors may contribute to the development of Crohn's, but the science is still not definitive. It's this uncertainty that makes Crohn's difficult to initially diagnose. Once it is diagnosed however, it's important to follow doctor's recommendations, as without treatment Crohn's can result in many very serious health issues-some that may require surgery.

What is the cure for Crohn's?
As of right now, there is no scientifically proven medical cure for Crohn's disease. Although some people have experienced lessening of their symptoms by altering their diets in different ways, there is no ‘miracle' diet to cure Crohn's. There are medical treatment options, however, that can control inflammation, manage symptoms and prevent damage caused by inflammation. Crohn's is a chronic disease that may lessen or worsen in severity over time periods, but will always be present. The good news is that with a good strategic medical plan, and vigilant adherence to that plan, along with frequent check-ups, a person with Crohn's disease can live a productive, happy life.

For more information on Crohn's Disease and IBD go online to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation's website at www.ccfa.org
Additional info from www.fda.gov