What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, which causes inflammation of the digestive tract. According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Crohn’s Disease may affect as many as 700,000 Americans. This inflammation can occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus and most commonly affects the small intestine and colon. The inflammation caused by Crohn’s Disease can lead to deep ulcerations and even fistulas (abnormal communications between one organ and another), which can cause severe pain, abscesses, debilitation, and even life threatening complications. Research is constantly being performed to improve therapy and attempt to establish better understanding of the exact etiology of Crohn’s Disease. Current therapies can greatly reduce the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and greatly improve the patient’s quality of life.
Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of Crohn’s Disease depend on the part of the digestive tract that is involved. These symptoms range from mild to severe, and can occur in intermittent frequency. The main symptoms of Crohn’s Disease are:
- Abdominal Pain
- Gastrointestinal Bleeding
Causes of Crohn’s Disease in Plano TX
Men and Women are equally likely to be affected by Crohn’s Disease, and while the disease can occur at any age, Crohn’s is more prevalent among adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35. While the exact cause of Crohn’s Disease is not known, there are several primary factors that may play a role in the development of Crohn’s. The most prevalent of these factors are:
- Your Family History
- More Common in Individuals of Eastern European Decent
- Environmental Factors (more common in developed countries)
- Tendency of Your Body to Over-React to Normal Bacteria in the Intestines
How is Crohn’s Disease Diagnosed in Plano TX?
Since there are many diseases that can mimic the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s, it is important for your gastroenterologist to run specific diagnostic tests.
Making a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease first requires obtaining a focused history and physical exam. When the possibility of Crohn’s Disease is suspected, further evaluation can be obtained to include:
- Stool studies (fecal leukocytes, fecal calprotectin)
- Radiographic studies (such as CT scans, barium X-rays, and MRI)
- Endoscopic evaluations (such as colonoscopy and video capsule endoscopy)
Crohn’s Disease Treatment Options in Plano TX
Although there is no cure for Crohn’s Disease, the goal of therapy is to improve symptoms and reduce inflammation. There are several classes of medications which are used to treat Crohn’s Disease including:
- Mesalamine products (such as Lialda, Apriso, Asacol, Pentasa, etc)
- Corticosteroids (prednisone, budesonide, etc)
- Immunomodulator therapy (azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, methotrexate, etc)
- Tumor Necrosis Factor antagonists (Remicade, Humira, Cimzia)
- Integrin Receptor Antagonist therapy (Entyvio)