6 things you must to know about Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease may not be as well-known as heart problems or cancer, but it is truly disabling for the person who suffers from it. It is a chronic gastrointestinal disease that causes inflammation. It usually affects the large and small intestines but can cause pain at any level of our gastrointestinal system. The pains are intense and sometimes constant. Here are six things to know about Crohn’s disease.
This disease affects men and women equally but is most often found in people aged 13 to 30 years. It seems to have hereditary causes, but smoking is considered an aggravating factor. People who smoke are actually at higher risk of developing Crohn’s disease at some point in their lives. The true causes of this disease, however, remain unknown: it could be linked to a failure of the immune system. This is however only a hypothesis.
1. The condition of the affected person is constantly changing
An important thing to know about Crohn’s disease? Although it is a chronic disease, it acts as a cycle. The person has peaks of illness and periods of remissions. When the disease reaches its peaks, the symptoms and inflammations become more and more unbearable for the person affected. When the periods of remission arrive, the symptoms diminish and may even completely disappear.At the arrival of these peaks, some symptoms appear. In particular, there is a significant abdominal pain, usually worse after meals. The person also suffers from diarrhea, blood in the stool and weight loss. There is also anemia, which itself causes fatigue. Crohn’s disease can also manifest itself through other symptoms such as inflammation of the eyes or skin lesions.
2. More and more people are diagnosed
Every year, more and more people are diagnosed. In the United States, 700,000 people have been diagnosed and this number continues to increase. An unexplained thing to know about Crohn’s disease? It seems to affect a larger proportion of the population over time, but the reasons for this increase are not yet known. Autoimmune diseases seem to be constantly increasing in recent years.Women and men are equally affected, but the disease is usually diagnosed in adolescence at the age of 15. Symptoms usually continue throughout life as there is no way to completely get rid of this disease. It involves taking treatments to treat the symptoms of it, even to adopt a different lifestyle, more adapted to it.
3. Nobody knows what causes it
One thing to know about Crohn’s disease: we do not know what causes it. Indeed, much research is and has been done to determine the causes of this disease, without success. It seems to be a combination of several risk factors that cause the disease. However, some people who do not know any of these risk factors are affected. So Crohn’s disease can be considered to affect anyone at any age.Factors that could play a role are genetic and hereditary factors on the one hand. On the other hand, the environmental factor can also play an important role. Some medications, pollution or excessive antibiotic use can increase a person’s chances of contracting this disease. Diet can also play a role, as well as some infections. Finally, dysfunction of the gastrointestinal system can also be the cause of Crohn’s disease.
4. It could be hereditary
If you have family members with irritable bowel syndrome (another name for Crohn’s disease), you’re more likely to get it. Studies show that people who have a parent or any member of their family with the disease are more likely to contract it themselves. However, it is not because a family member suffers that you will necessarily get it.Many people with Crohn’s disease do not know anyone who suffers from it. This is why researchers believe that the environment and lifestyle could play an even more important role in the development of this disease. To know about this disease: we can determine risk factors causing it but not its specific causes.
5. Smoking worsens symptoms
The important thing to know about Crohn’s disease: Aggravating symptoms exist. There may be a link between smoking and Crohn’s disease. Smoking may worsen the symptoms and increase their frequency, but some studies show that smoking may even increase a person’s chances of contracting Crohn’s disease in the future.Smokers are 34% more likely than non-smokers to contract this disease. The link is not yet explained scientifically but the numbers speak for themselves. The cigarette does not only have an effect on your respiratory system, your life expectancy and your chances of getting cancer but also on your digestive system. Another good reason to stop as soon as possible.
6. There are several treatments
To know about Crohn’s disease: to date, several treatments exist to fight against its symptoms. Indeed, the symptoms of the disease differ so much from one person to another that one can treat them in different ways. Probiotics, antibiotics, and diet can be one way to treat the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Fecal microbiota transplants can also play a role in helping to reduce the symptoms of the disease.Most treatments aim to control the different parts of the immune system that cause inflammation of the digestive tract and intestinal dysfunction that can quickly become disabling for the person affected. It is all about improving the living conditions of the affected person since Crohn’s cannot be eradicated at the moment.