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The Endoscopy Center, Inc.:

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Rapid City, SD 57701

Crohn’s Disease

What is Crohn’s Disease?

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of your digestive tract. The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.

Because the inflammation often spreads into the deeper layers of the bowel, Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.

There is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, however, therapies can significantly reduce the signs and symptoms and for many people, bring about long=term remission and healing of inflammation.

Who is susceptible to Crohn’s Disease?

Who is susceptible to Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is most commonly diagnosed in both men and women between the ages of 10 and 40, with a second peak at age 60. There is a tendency for Crohn’s disease to run in families, but many patients have no relatives with Crohn’s disease.

What are the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease?

What are the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease?

Signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease can range from mild to severe. Usually, symptoms develop gradually but they may come on suddenly without warning. Periods of time without any signs or symptoms are called remission.

Active disease can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Blood in stool
  • Mouth sores
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Pain or drainage around the anus

Severe Disease may also cause:

  • Inflammation of skin, eyes, and joints
  • Inflammation of the liver ducts
  • Kidney stones
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease isn’t known. Diet and stress may aggravate Crohn’s signs and symptoms but do not cause the disease. Crohn’s disease seems to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors that cause a person’s immune system response to become overactive. The overactive response occurs in the gut.

How is the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease made?

How is the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease made?

While blood and stool tests are a common part of the evaluation, there is no single test that can enable a definite diagnosis. Crohn’s disease is generally diagnosed through a combination of colonoscopy and imaging tests.

Imaging tests that show Crohn’s disease are: computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or barium xrays.

What is the treatment for Crohn’s disease?

What is the treatment for Crohn’s disease?

Currently there is no cure for Crohn’s disease and treatment centers decreasing the inflammation in the intestines to prevent flare-ups of symptoms and complications.

Crohn’s disease is treated with a variety of medications:

Steroids – used short-term for reducing inflammation
- Most common is Prednisone

Immunomodulators – act to decrease the immune system response
- Most common: Azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, methotrexate

Biologic therapies – used to target specific proteins in the body that cause inflammation, frequently given with an immunomodulator
- Administered as either an injection or IV infusion

Many people with Crohn’s disease will require surgery at some point to treat strictures, fistulas (tunnels from the intestine to other areas), or removal of inflamed segments of intestines that fail to respond to treatment.

Patients are encouraged to have a healthy balanced diet ant keep up with recommended vaccinations like flu and pneumonia. Many patients develop low levels of iron, vitamin B12, or vitamin D and may require supplements to return levels to normal. Since smoking can lead to an increased risk for surgery, patients who smoke should quit.

What are the complications of Crohn’s disease?

What are the complications of Crohn’s disease?

Most people do not experience complications, but some people may experience the following:

  • Bleeding
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Pockets of infection called abscesses
  • Skin conditions
  • Certain kinds of arthritis
  • Eye problems

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