Inflammatory Bowel Disease refers to bowel diseases that include chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, occurring in millions of people worldwide. One of the most common types of IBD is Crohn’s Disease with difficulties in diagnosis and management.
Crohn’s disease is inflammation that can occur anyplace from the mouth to the anus, leading to various symptoms and complications that could also be life-threatening. Additionally, it is an autoimmune disease that has no known cure, resulting in huge impacts on one’s daily life and overall health which makes it essential to manage.
To start, it occurs anywhere in the digestive tract with inflammation, varying from one person to another. The inflammation spreads if not treated, leading to severe abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhea, fever and more. The main cause of the disease has not been identified yet, however research suggests that it occurs when the immune system attacks the digestive track due to a trigger along with a claim that heredity and genes play a big role in the cause of the disease.
Diagnosis usually happens when a patient first visits his/her doctor after experiencing ongoing symptoms. Moreover, people with Crohn’s disease are often not diagnosed if the symptoms are not severe and misdiagnosis is also common. The symptoms tend to overlap with other autoimmune diseases, making it difficult to detect. Typically, to get the right diagnosis, a patient must complete several assessments from CT scans and blood tests to Endoscopy and Colonoscopy.
Crohn’s disease can lead to serious complications, especially If it is not managed properly. Initially, complications occur in the digestive tract, causing issues including Abscess which is painful pockets of puss in the digestive tract, openings in the intestinal wall referred to as Fistula and open sores known as Ulcers.
The symptoms could become more aggressive, leading to more serious diseases and complications like Arthritis, skin problems and kidney stones.
Additionally, it is highly important to acknowledge that Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition, meaning patients must learn to manage the disease even when no symptoms exist to avoid any complications and maintain their health.
“Through proper treatment Crohn’s disease can be managed, allowing patients to function efficiently in their day-to-day lives. When it comes to the treatment, it is typically approached with a multi-dimensional plan to help individuals receive the best possible results. The treatment plan consists of medication, surgery, diet and lifestyle. Crohn’s disease is a condition that has a big impact on our whole body and the way it functions, making it essential to take care of and aim for overall health! It could also affect people’s mental health severely due to the ongoing symptoms, serious complications and long-term management.” Dr. Filippos Georgopoulos, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at AZHD
Treating an autoimmune disease like Crohn’s requires a lot of effort and a qualified team of medical experts to get a proper customized plan that best suites the patient. Patients must learn to consistently take their medication to sustain their health and keep their symptoms under control. If serious complications were to occur, surgery might be an option to help in management, minimizing the symptoms, and to avoid further complications.
Diet and lifestyle are also important factors in managing Crohn’s disease and keeping it under control. With the help of medical experts, patients can detect triggers that worsen their symptoms and avoid food and activities that are known to negatively impact those with Crohn’s disease.