Healthy Living

A Family’s Story Highlights the Problem with Diagnosing and Living with Crohn’s Disease

The disease that is hard to pin down

Crohn’s disease is difficult for doctors to pin down because it can strike different areas of the gastrointestinal tract. This means that symptoms are not specific and they vary among individuals. What’s more, Crohn’s disease can mimic other conditions, which is why it is important to rule them out. For instance, Crohn’s-like symptoms such as stomach pain and fatigue may indicate an irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis. Infections such as tuberculosis and E. coli also have Crohn’s-like symptoms. In addition, seeing as how mild inflammation may not show up on blood tests, doctors may mistakenly diagnose the disease with anemia from low iron.

Dr. Edward V. Loftus, Jr., a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, recommends that individuals speak up about any previous and current symptoms in order to avoid risk damage to the intestines or the need for a stronger treatment. For a proper diagnosis, reviewing one’s personal and family medical history, as well as seeing inside the gastrointestinal tract, is necessary. Some of the most common tests used to identify inflammatory signs include a colonoscopy, endoscopy, or enterography.