Crohn's disease

 

 

Overview

A type of chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation throughout the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In individuals with Crohn’s disease, inflammation occurs as autoantibodies attack cells in the intestinal region of the GI tract. Notably, the inflammation may appear and reappear throughout time, with flare-ups sometimes occurring in response to dietary choices or medication disruptions/changes. 

Inflammation can occur anywhere along the GI tract in continuous or segmented regions, though the specific location of this inflammation is unique to each person. Consequently, Crohn’s disease is typically categorized according to which part or parts of the gut are most affected.

Common Symptoms

Severe diarrhea or constipation, fever, fatigue, weight loss, malnutrition, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding/blood in your stool, mouth sores, inflammation of the skin, eyes, joints, liver, or bile ducts, kidney stones, anemia, and delayed physical or sexual development.

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

There is a debate as to the existence of a connection between Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, but all conclude that Crohn’s disease is more common in those with celiac disease than in the general population. Overlapping symptoms between the two conditions include abdominal pain, diarrhea, anemia, and short stature. 

Patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have a similarly increased risk of depression and anxiety after surgery or hospitalization. Additionally, these patients have to worry about chronic diseases, extraintestinal manifestations, and more “piggybacking” on their illness.

Risk Factors

The cause of Crohn’s disease is still unknown, but genetic links are suspected due to evidence that has found multiple members of the same family affected.

Diet, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium), cigarette smoking, and stress may aggravate Crohn’s disease, but do not cause the disease. Recent research suggests that hereditary, genetic, immunological, and environmental factors contribute to Crohn’s disease development. 

Caucasians of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and people of African descent in North American and the United Kingdom are among the most at-risk individuals to develop Crohn’s disease.

Sources

  1. Article Sources and Footnotes
    1. Ananthakrishnan, A. N., Gainer, V. S., Cai, T., Perez, R. G., Cheng, S.-C., Savova, G., Chen, P., Szolovits, P., Xia, Z., De Jager, P. L., Shaw, S., Churchill, S., Karlson, E. W., Kohane, I., Perlis, R. H., Plenge, R. M., Murphy, S. N., & Liao, K. P. (2013). Similar risk of Depression and Anxiety following surgery or hospitalization for Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 108(4), 594–601. https://doi.org/10.1038/ajg.2012.471

    2. Crohn’s Disease. (n.d.). Celiac Disease Foundation. Retrieved July 9, 2021, from https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/related-conditions/crohns-disease/

    3. Crohn’s disease—Symptoms and causes. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 9, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/crohns-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353304

    4. Ghersin, I., Khateeb, N., Katz, L. H., Daher, S., Shamir, R., & Assa, A. (2020). Comorbidities in adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease: Findings from a population-based cohort study. Pediatric Research, 87(7), 1256–1262. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-019-0702-3

    5. What Is Crohn’s Disease? (n.d.). Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Retrieved July 9, 2021, from https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/what-is-crohns-disease

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