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Crohn's Disease The Basics - Articles Surfing
Crohn's Disease (CD) is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Although Crohn's disease can affect any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus it most commonly affects the ileum or the lowest part of the small intestine.
The chronic inflammation can cause pain and can cause the intestines to empty quickly and frequently resulting in diarrhea. This disease can be quite painful and at times debilitating and even more concerning is the fact that Crohn's can also lead to life-threatening complications.
Irritable bowel syndrome, Ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease all have very similar symptoms making the diagnosis of these diseases difficult at best.
Signs and symptoms of Crohn's can range from mild to severe symptoms and may develop gradually or appear suddenly, and without warning. Abdominal pain, often in the lower right area, and diarrhea are the most common symptoms of Crohn's disease.
Other symptoms can include weight loss, rectal bleeding, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, gas, skin lesions, joint pain and fever. Rectal bleeding is a serious issue and can be persistent, leading to anemia. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person.
Crohn's disease is diagnosed usually after your physician has ruled out other diseases. In order to diagnose CD, your physician may order blood tests to look for a low red cell count which may indicate anemia, an increased white blood cell count which indicates an infection, and a high sedimentation rate indicates inflammation.
A colonoscopy is one of the commonly utilized tests for diagnosing Crohn's disease. With this exam, your physician will insert a thin, flexible, lighted tube with an attached camera into your rectum.
This exam allows your physician direct visualization of your entire colon. It also allows your physician to take a biopsy, in which a small tissue sample is taken from the colon and studied further.
Your physician may also order a barium enema. This diagnostic test allows your doctor to evaluate your large intestine with the use of an X-ray.
Another exam is known as a flexible sigmoidoscopy. It is often used in conjunction with a barium enema. In this procedure, your doctor inserts a slender, flexible, lighted tube into the rectum to examine the sigmoid, the last 2 feet of your colon. Both of these tests can be uncomfortable and are not as reliable as a colonoscopy but fortunately are over fairly quickly.
Although there is currently no specific medication designed just for the treatment of Crohn's disease most treatment options focus on treating the symptoms of CD.
If you are suffering with an infection or abscess, medication specific to those conditions are generally ordered. Besides medications, other treatments include nutritional supplements, surgery, or a combination of these options. Treatment goals focus on reducing inflammation, pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding.
Even though there is currently no known cure, this often difficult to manage disease can be improved by working with your physician to design a treatment plan just for you.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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