crohn’s disease : causes, symptoms,diagnosis,treatment methods

Crohn’s disease is a chronic or may also be long lasting disease, that causes inflammation, irritation and even swelling in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT).  Mainly crohn’s disease effects the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine . This disease can effect any part of GIT (from the mouth to the anus).   Crohn’s disease mainly belongs to the group of inflammatory bowel diseases(IBD). This disease is similar to the ulcerative colitis, but the effect on GIT are different. Crohn’s disease can also affect the entire thickness of bowel wall whereas, ulcerative colitis only involve with the colon. Crohn’s disease begins gradually and can became worse over time.

GastroIntestinal Tract (GIT) :

It is a series of hallow organs joined in a long , twisting tube from the mouth to the anus.the body digests food using the movement of muscle in the GI tract along with the release of several hormones and enzymes.

The organs that make GI tract are mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, which include appendix, cecum, colon and rectum and the anus. The largest part of GIT is large intestine and intestines are nothing but bowels.

Crohn’s disease is mainly caused due to the combination of environmental, immune system and bacterial factors in genetically more prone to that disease. Sometimes the body immune system itself attacks the GIT, because this disease is an immune related disease or else auto immune disease. The exact problem with the immune system is not clear. But it may be attacked while the immunodeficiency state, about half of the overall risk is related to genetics with more than 70 genes are found to be involved. Tobacco smokers are more likely to be effected with this disease  and the diagnosis for this disease is mainly based on the appearance of bowel other symptoms include irritable bowel syndrome.

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms:

crohn's disease

It can effect any part of GIT but the symptoms may vary from person to person ,the main symptoms include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation

And the other symptoms also include :

  • Fever
  • Loss of apetite
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Night sweat
  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle in women
  • Joint pains
  • Eye irritation
  • Skin colour changes to red
  • Anemia (less amount of red blood cells then normal)
  • Hands and legs became very thin, due to the lack of energy

 

The symptoms of this disease can shown, but the proper examination by the doctor can diagnose the disease.

People suffering from this disease experience loss of appetite and may lose weight as a result. A feeling of low energy and muscle Fatigue are also most common among younger children,This disease can delay the growth and development of the body.

In the severe cases of This disease lead to tears (fissure) in the lining of the anus which may cause pain and bleeding especially during the bowel movement, inflammation is also seen.

Crohn’s disease causes:

Men and women are equally suffered from this disease, while the disease can occur at any stage.This disease is prevalent among the small and young adults between the age of 15-35.

Diet and stress can increase this disease but they are not major cause for this disease. Several research suggests that hereditary, genetics and environmental factors contribute the development of this disease.

The GI tract may contain harmless bacteria many of which are involved in digestion. The immune system usually attacks and kills the foreign substances, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms , under the normal circumstances, the harmless bacteria which is protected from these attacks.

This disease ruin the families, so if you or close relative have this disease, your family members have the more chances to develop the disease. The risk involved is greater with ulcerative colitis. The environment in which you live also appears to play an important role. This disease is more common in developed countries rather than undeveloped countries. In urban rather than rural and in northern than in southern climates.

The exact cause of this disease is unknown. Researches believe that these following factors having huge impact on developing the disease, those are follows:

  • Auto immune reactions
  • Genes
  • Environment

Auto immune reaction:

Scientists believe that one cause of this disease may be an auto immune reaction,when a person’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake . Normally, the immune system protects the body from the various foreign substances by identifying and destroying bacteria, viruses and other potentially harmful foreign substances, the immune system response causes the inflammation leading to symptoms.

 

Genes:

This disease sometimes ruins the families, research has shown that people who having a parent or siblings with this disease may be more likely to develop this disease, researchers continued to study the link between genes and this disease.

Environment:

Some studies suggest that certain things in the environment may increase the chances of person getting this disease, although the over all chance is low

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Antibiotics
  • Oral contraceptives

The above may slightly increases the chances of developing this disease, even some people believe that eating certain foods, stress, or emotional distress can cause this disease. Sometimes the stress of living with this disease persons worse the disease. Most of the people believe that certain foods may worsen the disease.

Crohn’s disease Diagnosis:

A health care professional diagnose this disease depending upon the following concepts :

Medical and family history:

Taking a medical and family history can help a health care provider to diagnose this disease and understand the patient symptoms, by considering certain factors like

  • Family history
  • Symptoms
  • Current and past medication
  • Current medication

Physical Examination:

During the physical exam the health care provider has to check

  • abdominal swelling
  • Listening the sounds of abdomen using the stethoscope

 

Lab tests:

  • Blood test
  • Stool test
  • Upper gastrointestinal series
  • Computerized tomography scan
  • Intestinal endoscopy
  • Colonoscopy

 

Crohn’s disease treatment:

  • Medication
  • Bowel rest
  • Surgery

Which treatment a person needs depends on the severity of the disease and symptoms. Each person’s severity of this disease is different. So health care provider can adjust the treatment to improve the person’s symptoms.

Medication:

  • Aminosalicylates
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immunomodulators
  • Biological therapies
  • Other medication

Aminosalicylates:are the medication which contains 5-aminosalicylic acid which helps to control inflammation which includes

Balsalzide*

Mesalamine*

Olsalazamine*

Sulfasalazine*

Corticosteroids:

Budesonide*

Hydrocartisoane*

Methylprednisolone*

Prednisolone*

Side effects of this drugs are:

Acne

Loss of bone mass

High blood pressure

Mood swingings

Weight gain

Immunomodulators:

6-mercaptopurine or 6-mp*

Azathioprine*

Cyclosporine*

Methotrexate*

more disease conditions ? click here

ulcerative colitis

 

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