Thousands of people in the U.S. suffer from Crohn’s disease. What disease? Crohn’s disease. This isn’t a condition that’s discussed as often as many others and, therefore, it’s not widely understood. This presents a problem. How can a person support those diagnosed when they don’t know what its victims are up against?

No doubt, you agree that it’s much easier to be supportive when you’re informed. So…what do you need to know about this disease? First, you have to understand what it is. But there’s more. Consider 7 important facts.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Also known as Crohn syndrome and regional enteritis, Crohn’s is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This is a chronic condition, which affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It results in abdominal pain, fever, weight loss and diarrhea, which may contain blood if the inflammation is severe enough.

What other facts are important to keep in mind?

1. Crohn’s often goes undiagnosed

Why? Often, people dismiss the symptoms as nothing serious. They fail to mention it to their doctors and, therefore, they never find out the culprit.

What else contributes to the lack of diagnoses?

2. There’s currently no test to immediately identify it

Unlike other diseases, which can be identified rather quickly with a blood test or biopsy, Crohn’s is harder to detect. Often, it is diagnosed by process-of-elimination rather than being investigated early-on as the cause of unpleasant gastrointestinal problems.

It’s not unusual for a person to go in for series of tests and procedures before the diagnosis is given. Sadly, some even wait and wonder for years about the cause of their suffering.

3. There are different types

Five types, to be exact. They are ileocolitis, ileitis, gastroduodenal, jejunoileitis and granulomatous colitis. Each refers to the part of the GI tract that is affected most.

4. There’s no verified cause

While researchers haven’t been able to pin down the cause just yet, they do know what doesn’t cause Crohn’s disease. What’s that? Lifestyle choices, habits and things of that sort. A person can’t cause themselves to come down with this condition.

Research has shown that factors more along the lines of family history are what put a person at risk.

5. Crohn’s can be a cause of other issues, though

In fact, worst case scenario it can lead to GI cancer. More commonly, though, it affects other parts of the body besides the digestive tract. Inflammation has the potential to also affect the eyes and joints.

6. There are flare-up and remission periods

Most people with this disease do not suffer from symptoms 24/7 365. There are times when GI inflammation is at its peak and symptoms are at their worst. In remission periods,  though, they feel relatively normal.

7. There are several treatment options available

Perhaps one of the most important and positive facts is that Crohn’s sufferers are not without hope. Treatment options include anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, immune system medications, vitamins, changes to diet and so on.

Now You Know

Now that you have expanded your knowledge of Crohn’s disease, you’re in a better position to help those who have it. What can you do? You can show your support by being understanding when a friend or family member is not feeling their best. You can also keep a positive and hopeful tone, which will no doubt help them to remain positive, too.