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What is Chron’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It usually affects the intestines, but may occur anywhere from the mouth to the end of the rectum (anus). Around 500,000 Americans are believed to be suffering from Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. If you have abdominal cramps or pain a few hours after eating, frequent diarrhea, bleeding from your rectum, weight loss, night sweats, or a recurrent fever, you may be one of them. Diagnosing Crohn’s can be especially challenging because its symptoms are so similar to those of several other conditions, but a visit to your doctor is the first step toward a diagnosis.
While researchers are still not clear exactly why there appears to be a correlation between Celiac and Chron’s disease, they do know the correlation exists, and therefore, when you’re diagnosed with one, its common to be tested for the other.
According to Celiac.com 02/18/2011 - In a search for a deeper understanding of the connections between celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, scientists have begun to focus on genetic variants that trigger inflammation in the gut. A research team examining associations between celiac disease and Crohn’s disease has now confirmed four common genetic variations between the two diseases. Their discovery may help to explain why people with celiac disease suffer Crohn’s disease at higher rates than the general population. Better understanding the genetic connections will likely pave the way for new treatments for symptoms common to both conditions, such as inflammation.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
While the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, the condition is linked to a problem with the body’s immune system response.
Normally, the immune system helps protect the body, but with Crohn’s disease the immune system can’t tell the difference between normal body tissue and foreign substances. The result is an overactive immune response that leads to chronic inflammation (making it an auto immune disorder).
Symptoms depend on what part of the gastrointestinal tract is affected. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and can come and go with periods of flare-ups.
The main symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:
- Crampy abdominal (belly area) pain
- Loss of appetite
- Pain with passing stool (tenesmus)
- Persistent, watery diarrhea
- Unintentional weight loss
Other symptoms may include:
- Eye inflammation
- Fistulas (usually around the rectal area, may cause draining of pus, mucus, or stools)
- Joint pain
- Liver inflammation
- Mouth ulcers
- Rectal bleeding and bloody stools
- Skin lumps or sores (ulcers)
- Swollen gumsIf you suspect you might have Chron’s disease, have your doctor test you to be certain as Chron’s Disease is a chronic disorder that can worsen over time, getting the right diagnosis is a worthwhile investment — even if it means going through some uncomfortable testing procedures. A proper diagnosis will help you and your doctor decide on the best treatments to improve your daily life, ease your symptoms, and potentially bring on remission.
Common testing procedures include MRI’s, endoscopys, Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or EGD, Sigmoidoscopy and abdominal X Rays. To learn more about Chron’s disease, you can review these suggested links below:
As with all potential disorders, this is not something to leave alone; please get yourself tested if you feel like this is something you might be suffering from. As I’ve come to learn, it’s better to know what you’re dealing with and head on the path to healing, then to not know at all!
In good health always
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