An estimated 500,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract, but primarily affects the small intestine. The start of the large intestine is also affected, though the disease can really affect any and all parts of the digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, the rectum and anus; and are responsible for processing food as it passes through the body.
The signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease appear slowly but worsen with time. Persons affected by the disease may experience a remission that can last weeks and sometimes years. Still, it is important that if you are presenting any of the following, you see a doctor immediately for a complete diagnosis.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
There are symptoms that are common to Crohn’s disease. The symptoms may be what you’d expect from a disease that is located in the digestive tract. Pain and cramping in the abdomen and stomach area, as well as diarrhea, are common symptoms. Weight loss is also common with Crohn’s disease.
Patients may feel extremely fatigued as a result of the chronic illness. Anemia – when the patient’s red blood cells are depleted – is another common symptom of Crohn’s disease.
Fever, eye pain or redness, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and changes in the skin’s appearance may further indicate that you have Crohn’s disease.
Remember that Crohn’s disease is characterized by inflammation. Symptoms vary depending on where the inflammation occurs.
Factors of the Disease
There is no hard fast rule to how old a person has to be when symptoms of Crohn’s disease start to appear. However, most people start to show symptoms in their twenties. Genes play a part, too. Crohn’s is somewhat hereditary. If you have a parent or sibling who suffers from irritable bowel conditions, you are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. Smokers also have a higher risk of Crohn’s disease; in fact, theirs is double the risk of non-smokers.
A fatty diet is believed to increase the chance of contracting the illness, though there is no definitive proof that eating certain foods causes Crohn’s disease.
Persons taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be careful to take only the recommended dosage. NSAIDS could slightly increase the chance of developing Crohn’s.
Researchers know more about the symptoms of Crohn’s disease than they do what causes it. Some researchers believe that stress, though it may not cause the disease, can make symptoms worse, which is unfortunate because there is a certain amount of stress that is related to simply living with the disease.
Carlisle Digestive Disease Associate’s gastroenterology and endoscopy experts are committed to their patient’s good health. They will diagnose your digestive tract disorder and help you through the symptoms that occur as a result of abnormalities like Crohn’s disease. If you believe you may have Crohn’s or any other conditions, or there is a history of such conditions in your family, we are here diagnose you and provide a treatment plan. We look forward to keeping you on the road to good health. Request an appointment today by calling 717-245-2228.