What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease but it may affect any part of the whole digestion tract from the mouth, through the stomach to the colon and anus. Crohn’s disease may affect it’s patients in many different ways; with symptoms including pain, cysts, fever, diarrhoea, bleeding from sores in the gut track, infection and weight loss. Bowel obstructions and severe constipation are also complications from Crohn’s disease that may result in the patient needing surgery and / or a colostomy bag. Patients with Crohn’s disease are at greater risk of developing bowel cancer.
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown however it has been linked to a combination of environmental factors, immune function and bacterial factors, as well as a patient’s genetic susceptibility to developing the disease.
From these symptoms patients incur a whole range of issues such as tiredness, life style disruptions, anemia or nutritional deficiencies. Crohn’s disease may effect a patients ability to work, support themselves or even go about their normal lives. A recent survey done by Crohn’s and Colitis UK acknowledged that patients may even be giving up sport and exercise due to their illness. Due to the wide variance of Crohn’s symptoms, there is no definitive cure or treatment for the disease. Everyone is different and must be treated according to the individual’s needs however, as Crohn’s directly effects the digestion tract, there is a huge effort to treat and manage symptoms through moderating and altering diet.
Awareness of Crohn’s disease has increased a great deal in the last 40 years, as patients feel more comfortable to discuss the disorder and share their experiences with others. What was once a very taboo topic is now common knowledge. This new awareness for Crohn’s disease may help to explain why the number of patients with diagnosed Crohn’s disease is increasing.