What is Crohn's disease and how can it affect my family?
Crohn's disease is one of those diseases that you might have heard of, but know little about. Here are some things that you need to know
Crohn's disease is most probably something you haven't heard about, or if you did, you've only heard about it in passing.
What is Crohn's disease?
According to David Hudesman, Crohn's disease is "an abnormal immune response to your own gut bacteria. And your body keeps attacking itself."
Crohn's disease mostly affects the ileum, or the end of the small bowel, and the colon, but it also affects all parts of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus.
The most common symptoms of Crohn's disease are joint pain, rashes, mouth sores, and eye pain. If left untreated, it can cause ulcers, infections, eyes, joint, or skin inflammations, and can even lead to more digestive problems.
Currently, research still hasn't shown why some people get Crohn's disease. They do know that some people are genetically more inclined to have Crohn's, and that certain types of stomach bacteria play a key role.
Go to the next page to learn how life is like for people with Crohn's disease.
What is life like for someone with Crohn's disease?
People suffering with Crohn's disease struggle with it everyday. Crohn's disease can certainly be treated and managed with the right diet and medicine, but it can't be cured.
The Huffington Post asked the members of their Facebook group to share their experiences with the disease. Here's what some of them wrote:
Here's another one talking about how hard it is to deal with Crohn's for the rest of her life:
Another user talks about the importance of visiting the doctor:
And lastly, a user shares her experience about living with an invisible disease:
Go to the next page to learn more about the symptoms and treatment of Crohn's disease.
How do I know if I have Crohn's disease?
The symptoms of Crohn's disease do vary from mild to intense. They can develop gradually, but sometimes they come right out of the blue. There can also be some cases wherein the symptoms can go into remission.
Here are some of the initial symptoms of Crohn's:
- Diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common problem among people suffering from Crohn's disease as intestinal cramps can contribute to having loose bowels.
- Fever and a feeling of fatigue. A lot of people that have Crohn's can sometimes have a fever because of inflammation or infection. This also contributes to feelings of fatigue or low energy.
- Cramps and abdominal pain. Inflammation in the stomach can cause cramps and abdominal pain. The pain ranges from mild to severe, and it can include nausea and vomiting.
- Mouth sores. Crohn's sufferers can sometimes have mouth sores similar to canker sores.
- Blood in the stool. In some cases, red or dark streaks of blood in the stool can be a sign of Crohn's.
- Weight loss and loss of appetite. Pain and swelling in the abdomen can affect your ability to digest food, affecting your appetite as well as your weight.
- Perianal disease. Infection near the anus can also be a possible sign of Crohn's disease.
If you feel that you might have Crohn's disease, it's best to go to a doctor so that you can be properly diagnosed.
What can I do about it?
Currently, there's no cure for people suffering from Crohn's disease. Treatment can range from using medicine and in some cases, surgery. Nutrition therapy is also sometimes recommended by doctors as a way of treating Crohn's disease.
Low-fiber diets are also recommended by some doctors in order to help the bowel to rest, thereby reducing chances of inflammation. This can also be used in conjunction with medicine as a way of managing Crohn's disease.
For people that have Crohn's, it's best to avoid certain food, such as dairy products, fatty foods, and food that's rich in fiber. Doctors also recommend eating small meals, drinking a lot of liquids, and using vitamin supplements.
Managing Crohn's disease might be hard, but through proper management and by following the correct treatment recommended by your doctor, Crohn's disease shouldn't get in the way of having a rich and fulfilling life.
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