This month is Crohn’s disease awareness month.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease of the intestine particularly of the colon and the ileum associated with ulcers and fistulae.
The most common areas to be affected are the last part of the small intestine and the colon.
There is no proven CAUSE of Crohn’s disease though theories are many. Looking at the possible causes may help to understand the disease and symptoms and allow us to reach a diagnosis.
Immune System has been linked to many inflammatory bowel diseases including the Crohn’s disease. The immune system or the body system that fights the invaders for some reason reacts inappropriately. Instead of defending the body from the invaders it begins to work on the helpful microbes, this over time leads to chronic inflammation, ulcers and other injuries to the intestines.
10% -20% if the people with inflammatory bowel disorders including Crohn”s disease tend show a genetic predilection. It is also seen more commonly in ethnic groups, like the Jews. Scientist have identified a Gene associated with the Crohn’s disease this is the gene that determines the reaction to certain to microbes. When this gene gets mutated then the reactions of the immune system get altered. This mutation h has been identified in people with Crohn’s disease.
Certain environmental factors are known to trigger the Crohn’s disease. Like:
- Food ingested.—could be irritant or an allergic trigger
- Microbes like bacteria or viruses
- Cigarettes or smoke inhalation.
These factors could either by directly triggering the immune response, which cannot be stopped, or they may speed the manifestation of the symptoms by damaging the lining of the intestines.
The Signs and Symptoms like all diseases range from mild to severe. The development is usually gradual though in rare cases it has known to be acute. These signs and symptoms may include;
- Diarrhoea—it could be accompanied with intensified intestinal cramps
- Fever and fatigue – this is usually low grade and due infection or inflammation. The individual also tends to have low energy levels and fatigue.
- Abdominal pain and cramp, due to ulceration and inflammation. This could vary from slight discomfort to nausea and vomiting.
- Blood in the stool is quite common, sometimes it is visible and sometimes it is not.
- Chronic mouth sores, or canker sores are also associated.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss due to cramps is seen. There is also an altered ability to digest and absorb food.
- Perianal disease— that is formation of a tunnel into the skin may there this is called a fistula; there could be pain or drainage from this area.
- When the condition is severe it may be accompanied by
- Inflammation of skin, eyes and joints
- Inflammation of liver or bile ducts
- Delayed growth or sexual development in children
When Does Consult A Doctor?
It is time to see the doctor if there is a persistent change in the bowel habits or if the following signs are seen
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the stools
- Ongoing bouts of diarrhoea that does not respond to over the counter drugs.
- Unexplained fever lasting for more than a day or two.
- Unexplained weight loss.
Controlling Crohn’s disease:
Since the factors involved in causing the disease is very complex it would be best to consult your doctor and work a treatment plan. In addition to Allopathic, Ayurveda and Homeopathy also provide some excellent options, which are extremely supportive in handling the disorder.