Crohn’s disease inflames the digestive tract and can involve any part of the digestive tract from beginning to end, but most often settles in the small intestine. The inflammation caused by Crohn’s results in ulcer formation in the affected part of the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease can strike at any age, but the two prominent age groups the disease often strikes are young adolescents and adults between the ages 15-30 and seniors between the ages of 60-80.
Symptoms Of Crohn’s Disease
The initial symptoms of Crohn’s are abdominal cramps and pain, vomiting, diarrhea, occasional rectal bleeding and unexplained weight loss.
Other symptoms of Crohn’s disease that present outside of the digestive tract include painful and swollen joints, inflamed eyes, skin rash and reoccurring kidney stones and gallstones.
It sometimes takes years to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan for patients who suffer with the disease, due to the initial vague symptoms and intermittent times of flare-ups and remission.
Complications Of The Disease
Complications of the disease sometimes requires surgical treatment to repair intestinal damage. The intestinal ulcers caused by Crohn’s can bore holes through the intestinal wall. Scarring left in the wake of the inflammation and/or ulcers can cause bowel obstructions or create fistulas. Fistulas are small tunnels connecting the inflamed portion of the intestine with non-involved portions of the digestive tract or other surrounding organs. Those who suffer with Crohn’s disease are also at a higher risk for developing colon cancer.
Essential vitamins and minerals are lost by the body which can stunt the growth of a child suffering with Crohn’s if the disease is left untreated. The disease is often discovered in a child when the development of the child is lagging behind the normal range.
Currently, there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, but several medications are available for treating mild to severe cases. Medications like Asacol and Dipentum often work well for treating mild cases of Crohn’s and cortisone drugs like Prednisone are prescribed for treating more severe cases of Crohn’s.Several newer drug treatment options are being used as well to help patients who suffer with Crohn’s to lead a normal and pain-free life by controlling the symptoms.
What Causes Crohn’s Disease?
The discovery of the cause of Crohn’s is still a work in progress, with no absolute cause determined yet. Probable causes of Crohn’s may stem from a patient’s immune system turning against the digestive tract, an intestinal bacteria and heredity.