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Crohn's Disease Specialist in Concord, NC

What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) and is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although often associated together, Crohn’s is not the same as ulcerative colitis. Crohn's disease occurs when the body attacks “good” bacteria in your GI tract that aid in digestion and immune support.

Common Symptoms of Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease commonly affects the end of the small intestine and colon, but can affect any part of the GI tract. Signs and symptoms vary and can range from mild to severe. When active, signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease may include:

Common Causes of Crohn's Disease

The causes of Crohn’s Disease are unknown. Though it can occur at any age, most people are diagnosed before age 30. Diet and stress may aggravate Crohn’s, but they do not cause the disease. Factors including heredity, genetics and environment may also play a role.

How To Get Diagnosed

Your digestive health provider will likely diagnose Crohn’s disease only after ruling out other causes of your symptoms. A combination of diagnostic tests and procedures may be used, including colonoscopy and endoscopy.

Are There Any Risk Factors For Crohn's Disease

Certain factors can increase your risk for developing Crohn’s disease. These risk factors for Crohn’s disease may include:

  • Age – while the condition can occur at any age, most people who develop Crohn’s disease receive their diagnosis when they are between the ages of 20 and 30.
  • Family history – as many as 1 in 5 people with Crohn’s disease has a first-degree relative, such as a parent, sibling or child, with the disease.
  • Smoking – cigarette smoking can double your risk for developing Crohn’s disease
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – while ibuprofen, naproxen, and other NSAIDs do not cause Crohn's disease, they can lead to bowel inflammation that makes Crohn’s disease worse.

Possible Complications of Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease can cause several other health issues, such as:

  • Intestinal obstruction – over time, Crohn’s disease can thicken the intestinal wall to narrow the intestine, which can block the passage of food and stool through your intestine.
  • Fistulas – inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease can pass through the walls of your intestine to create tunnels, or fistulas, which are abnormal connections between two parts inside of the body.
  • Abscesses – inflammation that goes through the intestinal walls can also cause painful and swollen pus-filled pockets of infection, known as abscesses.
  • Anal fissures – small tears in your anus that may cause pain, itching, or bleeding.
  • Ulcers – inflammation anywhere along your gastrointestinal tract can cause open sores, or ulcers, in your mouth, intestines, anus, or perineum.
  • Malnutrition – develops when poor nutrient absorption prevents your body from getting the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to function well.
  • Inflammation – occurring in other areas of your body, such as your eyes, joints, and skin.

What is The Treatment for Crohn's Disease

Treatment for Crohn's disease in Concord usually involves drug therapy or, in some cases, surgery. There is currently no cure. However, properly managed, long-term remission is possible and many people can function well. Treatment for Crohn's typically focuses on managing symptoms, limiting complications, and improving patient prognosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Crohn's disease fatal?

While Crohn's Disease is a chronic condition, it is generally not considered fatal. However, complications and severe cases can pose risks to overall health. With proper management, including medication, lifestyle adjustments, and, in some cases, surgery, many individuals with Crohn's Disease lead fulfilling lives. Regular medical care and adherence to treatment plans are crucial in minimizing potential risks.

Is Crohn's Disease curable?

Crohn's Disease is not currently curable, but it is manageable with appropriate medical intervention. Treatment focuses on controlling inflammation, managing symptoms, and preventing complications. Medications, lifestyle changes, and, in some cases, surgery play key roles in the management of Crohn's Disease. While there may not be a cure, advancements in research and treatment options continue to improve the quality of life for individuals with Crohn's Disease.

How serious is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's Disease is a serious condition that can significantly impact a person's quality of life. It is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. In severe cases, Crohn's Disease can lead to complications, including bowel obstruction, fistulas, and nutritional deficiencies. Early diagnosis, effective management, and regular medical monitoring are essential for minimizing the impact of the disease on an individual's health.

Is Crohn's Disease genetic?

There is evidence suggesting a genetic component to Crohn's Disease. Individuals with a family history of the condition may have an increased risk of developing it themselves. However, the precise interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the development of Crohn's Disease is complex and not fully understood. Not everyone with a family history will develop the disease, and it can also occur in individuals with no family history.

How Common Is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's Disease is relatively uncommon compared to some other gastrointestinal conditions, but it still affects a significant number of people worldwide. Its prevalence varies geographically, with higher rates observed in Western countries. The condition can develop at any age, but it is often diagnosed in young adults. Ongoing research aims to better understand the factors contributing to the prevalence of Crohn's Disease.

Is Crohn's an autoimmune disease?

Yes, Crohn's Disease is classified as an autoimmune disease. In this condition, the immune system mistakenly attacks the digestive tract, leading to chronic inflammation. The exact cause of this immune system dysfunction is not fully understood, but genetic and environmental factors are believed to play a role. Treating Crohn's Disease typically involves medications that modulate the immune response to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms.

Is Crohn's Disease contagious?

No, Crohn's Disease is not contagious. It is not caused by infectious agents or transmitted from person to person through direct contact. Crohn's Disease is believed to result from a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers, and it is not spread through casual contact or exposure to affected individuals. Understanding the non-contagious nature of Crohn's Disease is important in dispelling misconceptions about its transmission.

What foods should you avoid with Crohn's Disease?

Managing Crohn's Disease often involves avoiding certain foods that can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. Common triggers include high-fiber foods, spicy foods, dairy products, fatty and greasy foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Additionally, individuals with Crohn's Disease may find it beneficial to limit their intake of raw fruits and vegetables, as well as certain artificial sweeteners. However, dietary recommendations can vary among individuals, and those with Crohn's Disease must work with healthcare professionals or dietitians to create a personalized diet plan that meets their specific needs and minimizes symptom flare-ups.

What should you eat with Crohn's Disease?

A diet for individuals with Crohn's Disease often focuses on easily digestible and well-tolerated foods. Recommended options include lean proteins, cooked vegetables, peeled and cooked fruits, refined grains, and well-cooked eggs. Some individuals may benefit from a low-residue or low-fiber diet during flare-ups. It's crucial to stay hydrated and consider smaller, more frequent meals. However, dietary needs can vary, and working with healthcare professionals or dietitians is essential to tailor dietary recommendations to the individual's specific condition and symptoms.

Is Crohn's Disease a disability?

In some cases, Crohn's Disease may be considered a disability if it substantially limits a person's ability to perform major life activities, such as working. Legal recognition of Crohn's Disease as a disability can vary by jurisdiction, and individuals seeking disability accommodations may need to provide medical documentation and demonstrate the impact of the condition on their daily lives. Understanding applicable laws and regulations and consulting with healthcare professionals can help individuals navigate the process of seeking disability accommodations.

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Northeast Digestive Health Center
1070 Vinehaven Drive NE
Concord, North Carolina 28025
Phone: (704)783-1840
Fax: (704)783-1850
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