Crohn’s disease is a very rare condition in Taiwan, as only .2 of every 100,000 people are diagnosed with it. Because of this rarity, there is little to no awareness for this disease in Taiwan, something that doctors at the Asia University Hospital Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology aim to change.
About Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease, and it is characterized by inflammation in the digestive tract. The ileum and colon are the most common locations for this inflammation to occur, and this causes pain and can be debilitating. Doctors are unsure of the cause, but they suspect that the immune system plays a role, as do genetics.
Symptoms of this condition include diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue, fever, mouth sores, blood in the stool, weight loss, a reduction in appetite, and pain around the anus. Periods of active symptoms and remission are common, and they can range from mild to severe. Complications may also arise, so it is important to seek treatment. These include bowel obstruction, ulcers, anal fissures, colon cancer, and malnutrition.
A diagnosis comes from ruling out other conditions. Using tests such as blood tests, MRIs, CT scans, colonoscopies, and endoscopies doctors will come to a Crohn’s disease diagnosis. Treatment consists of anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, and antibiotics to reduce inflammation. Other medications can be prescribed to relieve other symptoms. Surgery may be required to remove the damaged part of the digestive tract, but it is not a cure.
Crohn’s Disease Awareness in Taiwan
Doctors realized the issues with awareness of Crohn’s disease after a grade-school student was admitted to the hospital, complaining of some of the characteristic symptoms of the condition. He was initially misdiagnosed with gastroenteritis and spent a week in the hospital with persistent symptoms.
After a colonoscopy, doctors were able to correctly diagnose him with Crohn’s disease. This diagnosis is important, as treatment is necessary to prevent any complications.
This boy’s diagnosis alerted medical professionals in Taiwan to the rarity of Crohn’s. Because of this, they want to spread knowledge and awareness of the condition.
Rare diseases are often difficult to diagnose, making the diagnostic process frustrating for those with a rare condition. Fortunately, there are doctors who will continuously work to ensure that a patient receives the correct diagnosis and treatment.
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