Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease which affects the gastrointestinal system, usually the last part of the small intestine and the colon. The inflammation can spread into all the layers of the tissue. It is a very painful and debilitating condition which affects the everyday life.
Crohn’s disease can be developed at any age, but it is mostly diagnosed in younger adults, before the age of 30. It can also affect all ethnicity groups. However, the disease is more common among white and Jewish people.
The real cause of Crohn’s disease is not known. However, it is believed that hereditary factors and a malfunction of the inflammatory system play a great role in its development. Some people are at a greater risk of suffering from Crohn’s disease when compared to others. Risk factors for Crohn’s disease include: age, ethnicity, family history, smoking, the use of NSAIDs, place where someone lives, etc.
The signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease vary from mild to moderate and sometimes even severe, accompanied with life – threatening complications. The disease usually develops gradually over a long period of time. However, there have been reported cases with a sudden onset of the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Characteristic signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease are: abdominal pain, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, blood in the stool, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, etc.
Keep in mind that Crohn’s disease has no treatment. However, with the right medications, diet and change of the lifestyle the severity of its signs and symptoms can be maintained under control. With the right treatment, periods of remission may also occur, when there are no signs and symptoms at all.
Managing Crohn’s disease
Living with Crohn’s disease is not easy, especially when diarrhea, bowel obstructions, gastrointestinal bleeding or anal tears are frequent. Fortunately, with a change in the lifestyle, diet and with regular medication Crohn’s disease can be maintained under control.
Trying some of the following tips or even ditching some of unhealthy habits can help you control the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
Some of the unhealthy habits that you should quit include:
Stop smoking – if you are a smoker, you should quit it as soon as possible. Smoking is not good not only for Crohn’s disease, but also for your overall health. It is well known that smoking increases the risk of developing Crohn’s disease. Once diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, smoking makes signs and symptoms worse.
Stop buzzing with caffeine– It is well known that caffeine has laxative effects, so normally this will make your signs and symptoms worse. Try eliminating caffeine and your diarrhea will improve.
Stop drinking alcohol– alcohol will interfere with the medications you use for the treatment of Crohn’s disease. It also causes nausea and vomiting, making your condition worse. Excessive alcohol drinking is not good not just for Crohn’s disease, but also for your overall health.
Stop taking the wrong painkillers- when suffering from Crohn’s disease it is important to eliminate NSAIDs as painkillers, as they make your signs and symptoms worse. Instead, when painkillers are a must, take only acetaminophen.
Don’t skip your medication- and take them as prescribed by your doctor – taking the medications on time and as prescribed is very important in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. If medications are not taken on time and as prescribed, the treatment will have no success, the signs and symptoms will get worse and possible life – threatening complications will develop.
Don’t skip regular check-ups at your doctor’s office – Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition which has no treatment. Getting all the necessary care and always checking your overall health is very important.
Lifestyle tips for Crohn’s disease
• Try eating frequent and small portion meals, instead of having few and big meals
• Get plenty of fluids, as you are at a greater risk for dehydration
• Keep a food diary, which will help you know which food types trigger your signs and symptoms. This way you can eliminate them from your diet.
• Take regularly food supplements like vitamins, iron, calcium, folate, etc.
• Get enough sleep.
• Exercise regularly to keep your body healthy and active