In USA, there are 120,000 people with Crohn’s disease, both men and women.
Each year 4-5 new cases per 100,000 are diagnosed. Crohn’s disease causes chronic inflammation of digestive system. Any segment of the gastrointestinal tract may be affected, from anus esophagus. But more often, it is bowel that is achieved by inflammation: colon, small intestine terminal portion.
Illness progresses in spurts interspersed with remission periods.
Signs are mainly gastrointestinal, but not only, depend on the segments achieved location.
In Crohn’s disease, the symptoms are mostly gastrointestinal
Crohn’s disease causes:
- Anal pain (fistulas, abscesses).
- An issue of blood or mucus from anus.
- Abdominal pain (sometimes very strong up to think appendicitis).
- There may be heavy, watery diarrhea.
- Nausea, vomiting.
These digestive symptoms lead to poor general condition: fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss with faltering growth in children and adolescents, fever, paleness, breathlessness due to a anemia risk and vitamin B12 deficiency.
Other non-digestive signs…
Crohn’s disease can also cause other symptoms as digestive, including joint, skin and eye.
- Articular rheumatism: ankylosing spondylitis…
- Dermatological disorders: ulcers, erythema nodosum…
- Ocular: uveitis…
It is estimated that these extraintestinal manifestations affect one third of patients during their illness. Knowing they can appear before the gastrointestinal signs, they should be considered as warning signs to get see.
Crohn’s disease Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosis is based on examination and in particular on signs, supplemented by:
- A biological balance sheet;
- A colonoscopy (rectum and colon examination, terminal portion of small intestine, assessing damage extent);
- Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (to determine the high illness location);
- Video capsule ingestion.
Other tests may be required or placed under surveillance:
- Abdominal CT;
- Abdominal ultrasound,
As for treatment, they are based on anti-inflammatory drugs target (5-ASA, corticosteroids, immunomodulators, antibiotics, iron). If unsuccessful, surgery may be necessary. A balanced diet is necessary to risk malnutrition reduce. During severe outbreaks, a restricted diet in fruits and vegetables can not increase gastrointestinal symptoms. Only tobacco should be avoided.
Care is multidisciplinary, involving the intervention of various specialists: physician, gastroenterologist, rheumatologist, dietician, doctor or school work, social worker, psychiatrist or psychologist, etc.. It aims to ease outbreaks, prevent relapses, complications and improve life quality.