What is Crohn’s Disease? (The Basics)
For those of you who are unaware I suffer from a chronic and incurable condition known as Crohn’s disease. Throughout ‘Jake Borrett’s Writing Blog’ I will be posting a number of articles about my own personal experiences living with this condition.
This entry deals with the basics of the disease, and hopefully will start to raise awareness about the disability. To do this I have drawn up a list of some of the possible questions that people have asked in the past and may ask in the future, and my attempted responses to them.
Please remember that each case of Crohn’s disease is different, so the given responses from each person would vary.
Okay, here we go.
Question 1: What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is a relatively uncommon condition. It is part of the group known as ‘Inflammatory Bowel Disease’. The other disability is Ulcerative Colitis.
Crohn’s Disease causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system in the form of ulcers. This can affect anywhere from the mouth to the back passage, but often occurs in the last section of the small intestine known as ‘ileum’ or the largest intestine known as ‘colon’.
Question 2: What are the demographics of Crohn’s disease?
It is currently estimated that at least 115,000 people are living with the condition in the United Kingdom and many more around the world.
Whilst Crohn’s disease can occur at any age, the most common year of diagnosis is between 15 and 35. It affects both the male and female population.
Question 3: What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
The common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fatigue, blood and mucus in the faeces, unintended weight loss, and stunted growth.
People can experience something which is known as ‘remission’. This is when they go through for a period without having regularly symptoms. At troublesome times sufferers can experience what is known as a ‘flare up’. This is when the disease is more active and can lead to further complications.
Question 4: What is the cause of Crohn’s disease?
There is no known cause for Crohn’s disease. Research however shows that genetics, the immune system and environmental factors might have some impact. This is not fully proven yet.
Question 5: Does diet play a part?
There are many myths surrounding Crohn’s disease and diet. Of course each individual case is different.
Some people who have Crohn’s disease may have or will be placed on a liquid diet some point in their life. This generally but not always happens after their diagnosis. This involves going a number of weeks where food is replaced with protein supplements. This is often under the brand ‘Modulen IBD’. This treatment is meant to allow the bowel to rest. Then after that specific length of time has lapsed food is gradually introduced again.
In terms of everyday diet, the issue is more subjective. Sometimes high fibre foods are avoided as they contain a substance called roughage, which is harder to absorb if you have Crohn’s disease.
Question 6: How can Crohn’s disease be treated?
There is no known cure for Crohn’s disease. Symptoms can be relieved through inflammatory and steroids medications, and on occasion surgery.
I shall be discussing more about this from a personal perspective as the treatment varies accordingly.
Question 7: Do you have any last remarks?
Whilst Crohn’s disease is a long-term incurable condition, many sufferers have found ways of coping. Most of which have gone on to lead successful, fulfilling and enjoyable lives.
In my case I have used my illness as a motivation to achieve success in my education, working and social life.
Question 8: Where can I find more information?
Of course I have only listed the basics that surround Crohn’s disease.
You can find more information on the internet and or by talking to specialists, who will often provide you with accurate information.
I suggest the following sites:
› The National Health Service: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Crohns-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx which will provide you more details about the condition itself.
› Crohn’s and Colitis UK: http://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/ which is a fantastic charity which helps to support those with Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Please donate generously.
Thanks to everyone who has read this article concerning Crohn’s disease.
Please remember that every case is different. So the cause, symptoms and treatment will not be the same for each person.
I will be sharing my own personal experience living this Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the near future. So the aspects which are not covered here will be found in the ‘My Life Collection’ as part of this blog.
Please do share this entry so many more people are informed about this lifelong condition.
Thanks for the support.