Crohn's disease: Get informed

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. As the name indicates, the disease is characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestinal mucosa.

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Crohn’s disease

Crohn's disease may affect any part of the entire gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus, but the parts of the gut most usually affected are the ilium, colon and anus. The disease tends to be patchy, with intervening unaffected segments of bowel.

Crohn's disease tends to be chronic: the disease is lifelong, with aggravated symptoms during relapses. These relapses alternate with phases when symptoms improve and the disease goes into remission. 


Complications

Relapses may be so severe that hospital admission may be required, and complications may occur. These include fistulas, abscesses, perforation, and bleeding. Sometimes the thickening of the gut wall causes a partial or even complete intestinal obstruction.
The disease may be painful and the patient's appetite diminished: the risk of malnutrition is significant. In children, the disease may result in failure to thrive.
Bleeding is often slight, but if prolonged, may still cause anemia.
Crohn's disease is also a risk factor for colorectal cancer, and the risk of this increases with the duration of the disease.

RECOGNIZING CROHN'S DISEASE

Crohn's disease is diagnosed on clinical examination and then subsequent investigations. No single sign is diagnostic, but the clinical picture confirms the diagnosis, and differentiates it from other similar pathologies such as ulcerative colitis.
 
In addition to a history of the symptoms, blood tests, and imaging with ultrasound or MRI scans,  colonoscopy is often indispensable in confirming the diagnosis. This is a test which enables the bowel to be examined with the aid of an instrument called an endoscope. Samples of tissue (biopsies) may also be taken during the examination for later inspection under the microscope. 
 
For more information, you can visit the Crohn's Disease Forum.

For further information:
 

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9/19/18 at 6:16 PM

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