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Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a disorder that affects the digestive tract.  The digestive tract, also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, can be affected at any point, from the mouth to the anus.  However, it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are easily confused with other disorders of the GI.  Because of this it is important that you carefully monitor any and all signs and symptoms and report them to your physician.

The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

  • Abdominal pain (often in the lower right area)
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Arthritis
  • Skin problems
  • Fever
  • Ulcers
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Fistula or abscess
  • Eye inflammation

Symptoms may come and go.  People who suffer from Crohn’s disease often experience symptom free days, even years.  However, the disease is chronic and most people will relapse many times in their lives.

Diagnosis

Your doctor or specialist will need to run many tests to properly diagnose Crohn’s disease.  The disease often behaves like others so it is crucial that your physician rule out other illnesses before making a diagnosis.  Diagnosing Crohn’s disease can include:

  • A complete physical exam and medical history
  • Measuring: blood protein levels, blood sedimentation rates, body mineral levels, red blood cell counts, stool for blood or infectious microbes, white blood cell count
  • Barium X-rays
  • CT scans
  • Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy
  • Video capsule endoscopy

Treatment

Once your doctor has reviewed all of the information gathered from various tests and exams she may conclude that the diagnosis is Crohn’s disease.  Though there is no cure for Crohn’s disease there are some treatments that can alleviate the acute symptoms of the disease.  The goal is to get the disease go into remission.  Standard and alternative treatments of Crohn’s disease include:

  • Medications to include- antibiotics, aminosalicylate, immunosuppressing drugs and corticosteroids
  • Surgery- used to manage complications of the disease
  • Diet and lifestyle changes
  • Helminthic therapy
  • Nutritional supplements to include- probiotics, fish oil and other herbal supplements
  • Acupuncture

The way Crohn’s disease affects a person can vary greatly.  While some people are only mildly affected by the disease others are so severely affected that the disease becomes debilitating.

If you have been affected by Crohn’s disease you may qualify for disability benefits.  Please contact your Florida disability representative at Disability Help Group for a free consultation.