Crohn’s disease is a recurring, chronic and inflammatory condition that affects the intestinal tract. Crohn’s disease occurs in the two main parts of the intestinal tract that include ileum (it is the last portion of small intestine) and the colon (large intestine). When the disease affects ileum, it is called as ileitis or regional enteritis and when it affects the colon, it is called as Crohn’s colitis. At first, inflammation occurs in the lining of the bowel then ulcers develop and this condition makes the wall of the bowel thickened. Ultimately, the bowel becomes narrowed and might get blocked as well.
Various studies have given the evidence that the cause of Crohn’s disease is associated with genetics because the condition is mostly being seen in families. Moreover, some other evidence includes the normal bacteria that grows in lower abdomen may involve in causing the inflammation and the immune system of the body that protects it from different infections can also be a causing factor. Still, there is a wide range of unknown factors involves in the cause of the Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease affects both men and women of all age groups, but it mostly occurs in young people. Jewish people have a high risk of developing Crohn’s disease while African Americans have low risk.
CROHN’S DISEASE SYMPTOMS:
The Crohn’s disease symptoms vary according to the part of the intestinal tract where it appears. When it appears in the ileum, the symptoms include recurring pain in right lower abdomen and sometimes this pain mimics that of acute appendicitis. When it affects the colon, the symptoms include diarrhea (can be bloody sometimes), fever and weight loss. Crohn’s disease can also affect the area around the anus and as a result, an anal fistula may develop. The patient feels fatigue less and lethargic when the disease is in active form. Moreover, children and adolescents experience difficulty in gaining or maintaining their weight.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE CROHN’S DISEASE?
In order to diagnose Crohn’s disease, the doctor reviews the medical history of the patient, performs a physical exam and conducts some blood and stool tests. Generally, CT scan of the abdomen and small bowel series are performed on a routine basis but there are certain advanced and latest tests such as capsule endoscopy and CT enterography that are also performed. Additionally, colonoscopy may also be carried out to visually examine the colon and the ileum and the biopsy can help in diagnosing the disease.
CROHN’S DISEASE TREATMENT:
Crohn’s disease can be effectively treated with different medical and surgical treatment options. But, at the same time, it is important that the patient should maintain a good health with balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Steroids are powerful enough to produce effective results but these drugs shouldn’t be given for a long term because they cause serious side effects. Certain anti-inflammatory medications such as sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), Colozal, Rowasa, Asacol, and Pentasa are recommended that are useful in the remission period. Some drugs such as Imuran and Purinethol are also prescribed that suppress the immune system of the body, which is more active and worsens the condition and these drugs are helpful for long time period. A medication named Infliximab (Remicade) blocks the inflammation response of the body that is given through intravenous and specifically treats the condition of anal fistula. Moreover, these two antibiotics: ciprofloxacin and metronidazole are also useful in treating the disease. The surgical treatment of Crohn’s disease can be needed at some point during the course of the treatment of Crohn’s disease. During the Crohn’s disease surgery, the diseased portion of the affected bowel is removed or the anal abscess or fistula is drained.
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