Crohns disease is a chronic medical condition characterized by inflammation of the intestines. The symptoms of Crohns disease are very similar to other intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, which can make initial diagnosis difficult.
These symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, and loss of appetite together with weight loss. The severity of the disease can vary from one person to another with some sufferers experiencing extended periods of time when the disease is not active and he or she is symptom free.
What Causes Crohns Disease
There is no known single cause of Crohns Disease although one of the more popular theories amongst doctors for what causes it is that the body’s immune system reacts to a virus or a bacterium by causing ongoing inflammation in the intestine. This could be due to something that is eaten causing the body to go into hyper defensive mode. Another theory is that an allergic reaction to some outside agent could trigger an overall immune defense that gets out of control.
Is Crohns Disease Genetic
Another possible cause could be genetic. While it is possible to get Chron’s Disease without having anybody else in the family with the disease, it has been noted that Crohns Disease tends to be hereditary. While this does not mean that everybody in the family will develop the disease, it does mean that everyone should be aware of it. The knowledge of Crohns Disease in the family is very important due to the complications that can occur if one has the disease but does not get it treated or if the disease is not treated correctly.
Although Crohn’s disease is not fatal and many sufferers lead active and productive lives, some complications can arise.
These problems can include obstructions due to scarring on the intestines and fistulas, or ulcers that have grown to other organs, including the skin. Abscesses can develop if the fistulas do not drain properly and hemorrhages can be caused when a fistula is not properly treated and it destroys an artery. This can be life threatening and requires surgical intervention to repair.
Crohns Disease Prognosis
Crohns is a life-long illness but there is hope for those with the disease. While prevention is not an option, due to unknown causes or the genetic association, there are some treatments available. One such treatment involves medications that repress the immune system to prevent it from attacking healthy bacteria. Other alternative treatments focus on relaxation techniques. Taking vitamin supplements to maintain a healthy level of antioxidants in the body can help to control free radicals that are often seen in Crohns Disease patients.