Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the gastrointestinal tract. It can be painful and sometimes life threatening. If you or somebody that you know suffers from Crohn’s, it's helpful to have a support system that understands the disease and what you may go through on a daily basis. Below are some facts to explain what is Crohn’s Disease;
- An estimated 1.4 million people suffer from Crohn’s disease annually
- Crohn’s causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and can affect any portion of from mouth to anus
- While it primarily affects the GI tract, it can also affect your skin, bones, eyes, joints, liver and kidneys.
- It can start at any age but typically starts in childhood or early adulthood
- Crohn’s can occur in the small intestine and colon
- Symptoms range from mild, to severe, to even life threatening
- Symptoms can include persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps, rectal bleeding, ulcers in the gut, fatigue, fever, weight loss, and delayed growth in children
- The unpredictable nature of this disease can create burdens in your career, social life, bathroom breaks, and love life
- Some patients recover after a flair up and remain in remission for years, while others may require frequent hospitalization or even surgery
- There is no known cure but treatments can help reduce the severity and number of flair ups
- Treatment includes medication to alleviate and reduce symptoms. Surgery is generally recommended when medication can no longer control symptoms.
- Dietary modifications can help reduce disease symptoms during a flare up and replace lost nutrients.
- Dairy, spicy foods, alcohol, fatty foods, high fiber foods, and carbonated beverages should be avoided
- Your diet should include nutrient dense foods that can be digested easily; Oatmeal, salmon, avocado, eggs, and lean proteins.
Crohn's affect your gastrointestinal tract long term. While it can reduce a person’s quality of life, with proper treatment and support it can be managed and remission.