Sunday, 7 April 2013

Crohn's disease, symptoms causes and what doctors know about this disease

Crohn's disease is named after the doctor Burrill b. Crohn of New York, which, together with colleagues in 1932 gave a description of the disease.

The disease occurs as a process in the intestinal wall. A larger or smaller piece of intestine raises up,which it will be thickened with heavy redness of the intestinal surface and with cuts and wounds on the inside. That can later be left as scarring, which shrinks and narrows the intestine.

In 2/3 of cases the disease is in the lower part of the small intestine, just before it leads into the large intestine. It was thought initially that the disease was limited to this, but later it has been shown that the disease can be anywhere in the digestive tract. Sometimes it is in several places. Most often, however, there is talk about a limited distribution (under 1/2 meter bowel)-in approximately 1/3 of the cases is the disease of the colon and/or rectum. The disease is contagious.

The disease has a certain, albeit not particularly outspoken heredity. We know that several members of the same family may have the disease. Approximately 10% of patients have yet another case of the disease in its family  This suggests that some families may be predisposed to get the disease.


Approximately 250 people in Denmark each year are diagnosed with Crohn's disease for the first time. This corresponds to approx. 5 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year, and the disease over the last 30 years has been in constant increase.

Half of the patients are between 15-25 years, when the disease starts. It breaks frequently into adolescence, but can occur both during childhood and far up in old age.

The disease is chronic, and it is estimated that today there are more than 6,000 people with Crohn's disease in denmark.


The cause of Crohn's disease remains unknown. In all regions on earth this disease can exist, although it is most common in urban areas with a high concentration of population. This has led scientists to believe the disease could be due to the presence of one or other environmental factor in areas with industrial and urban development. We do, however, have never been able to show the environmental factor that is involved in Crohn's disease.

The possibility is, however, that a so-called "protective nutrient" can be disappeared out of the diet. From the declining consumption of fibre in the diet, that has occurred in the last lifetime. Over the last 40-50 years is our consumption of grain products approximately halved.

Another theory about the cause of Crohn's disease is caused by reduced defense mechanism against the usual bacteria. You could say that when bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract is usually harmless, the cause is just the fact that the body itself is able to repel the bacteria's attempts to penetrate into tissues. This ability seems partly to be lost or may be decreased in patients with Crohn's disease. One can thus show that white blood cells, which usually stops this bacteria, in patients with Crohn's disease white blood cells may work slower.

A possible association with food allergy has been scientifically examined in many places in the world, but it has not been possible to establish a definitive link between certain foods and the prevalence of Crohn's disease. Our current knowledge of food affects Crohn's disease is quite limited. We have no basis for that, there is something special food, which induces disease. We have discussed whether patients with Crohn's disease have a higher consumption of sugars and, lower consumption of grain products than people without the disease.


Disease outbreaks can be very different. Many patients may suffer from longer period of time having weak symptoms with diarrhea and abdominal pain. In periods bouts of mild fever, and pain at the bottom of the right side of the abdomen. In some cases, with blood in the stool. Poor appetite, weight loss, fatigue, poor general condition, skin rash (knot rose) and eye inflammation.

Sometimes there may develop boils and so-called fistulas between the intestines and organs or on the skin. For all that applies it to seek medical advice as early as possible.

What you can do
Seek medical advice if you have persistent diarrhea and be sure to be in regular check-ups and treatment, if identified as Crohn's disease.

In some cases, where there is a narrowing in the intestinal system, it may be necessary to avoid indigestible foods such as. raw fruits and vegetables. In General, it is important to consume a full diet to ensure the best possible conditions for the body's defense mechanism.


If tissue samples did not give clear answers, it is difficult to distinguish between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Sometimes diagnosis is made only after that operation is taken a bowel pieces for microscopic examination.


The disease has a very individual process. It is therefore difficult to draw parallels from one case to another, and one must almost always "tailor" treatment to indivduals. It is important to achieve a relationship of trust between patient and doctor, so that the patient can always contact if unexpected problems arise. Since we are talking about a chronic illness the problem is that one can never be sure if the disease flares up again. We therefore advise you to continue checking with the doctor.

Crohn's disease can sit throughout the digestive tract, and it tends to settle one or more spots in the gut. Even after surgery with removal of the diseased bowel pieces can the disease after a number of years on new flare up.

We know of no treatment, either medical or surgical, which can cure Crohn's disease. This means that the medical treatment is to attenuate disease activity for long periods of time. Surgical treatment with the removal of the diseased bowel piece can give long asymptomatic periods.

Crohn's disease is chronic, but it does not mean that there will always be symptoms.

Some people with Crohn's disease have symptoms of their illness several times each year, while others may have years of free periods. There are also people, who always have symptoms from the disease.


There is no treatment, either medical or surgical, which can cure Crohn's disease. This means that the medical treatment is to attenuate disease activity for long periods of time. Surgical treatment with the removal of the diseased bowel piece can give long asymptomatic periods.

In many cases, it is necessary to give supplements of iron, folic acid or vitamin B12, as the gut has a hard time admitting in sufficient quantities.

In addition, reference is made to a publication, such as the National Association for the control of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's disease has released, with mention of all the medicine types used by the two diseases with respect to efficacy and side effects.


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