Crohn’s disease may affect as many as 1.6 million Americans, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (CCF). Although it can strike at any age, Crohn’s is more prevalent among adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35. But many people aren’t aware of the symptoms — or treatments — for this chronic stomach disorder, so they live in pain and discomfort. For the very young, it can affect growth and development. So creating awareness for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis (two forms of irritable bowel syndrome) is important.
Often people living with Crohn’s don’t realize that it’s a complex condition — far more than just an “upset stomach.” Symptoms of these diseases include abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, debilitating fatigue, and extreme weight loss. The severity of an attack can lead to hospitalization. Although it is becoming more and more common, there is still no known cause for these disruptive digestive diseases!
According to CCF, researchers believe that Crohns and colitis are caused by a combination of genetics, immune system deficiencies, and/or environmental factors. Researchers believe that once the IBD patient’s immune system is “turned on,” it does not know how to properly “turn off” at the right time. As a result, inflammation damages the intestine and causes the symptoms of IBD. That is why the main goal of medical therapy is to help patients regulate their immune system better. To learn more about ulcerative colitis click here. To learn more about Crohn’s, click here.
Treatments vary from patient to patient. But understanding the symptoms and seeking a meaningful diagnosis is the first step to finding relief from this often debilitating disease.
During Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week, spend some time educating yourself and others about this condition. Take CCF’s online quiz and you can enter for a chance to win a gift certificate. Test your knowledge of Crohn’s Disease and heighten awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis.
Or find out more about Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week activities in the United Kingdom.