What causes Crohn's Disease?
Crohn's disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the gastrointestinal tract. It is estimated that 700,000 Americans have Crohn's disease (www.ccfa.com). Crohn's affects women and men equally, and is usually diagnosed when an individual is a teen or in their 20's. The disease was first identified in 1932 by Dr. Burrill B. Crohn. A cure for Crohn’s has not been discovered.
Researchers don’t know know what is the cause of Crohn's. Like other autoimmune disorders, stress and diet play a role in the aggravation of Crohn's disease, but are unlikely the cause. It is currently suspected that a combination of heredity and a malfunctioning immune system are both required to cause Crohn's to develop.
Researchers know that genetics is a contributing factor of the development of Crohn's because one is more likely to develop Crohn’s if a first degree relative also the disease. Genetics is not guaranteed of the development of Crohn's, if two people share same genetic make up one may have Crohn's and one may not. This leads researchers to conclude other factors in addition to genetics, cause the autoimmune disease to develop.
It is thought that healthy bacteria or virus is mistaken by the immune system to be an invasive or toxic microorganism. Consequently, the body launches an immune attack. Cells from the blood rush to the intestine where the mistaken viruses or bacteria exist to destroy them. This immune attack causes inflammation. As the virus's and bacteria may be good and necessary for healthy human function, they are constantly present. With the that immune system continually attacking cells in the intestine, inflammation becomes chronic. It is believed that chronic inflammation, caused by the immune systems misidentification of a substance within the intestines, causes Crohn's to develop. Stress and diet exasperate the immune systems misguided attack, sparking symptoms to flare up or intensify.
Crohn’s is a chronic disease but there will be times when it is active and times when it is in remission. During remission no symptoms will be present. Crohn's can affect the enter gastrointestinal tract (from mouth to anus), but most commonly affects the lower small intestine and colon.
According to the Mayo Clinic that symptoms of Crohn’s disease are varied. If your Crohn’s is active you may have the following:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Fever and fatigue
- Abdominal cramps and/or pain
- Blood in your stool
- Mouth sores
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
- Urgent need to move bowels
- Perianal disease (pain or drainage around the anus)
- Loss of a normal menstrual cycle
- night sweats
Additional symptoms may occur or be varied based on where the disease takes place. Read ‘Types of Crohn's Disease and Associated Symptoms’ to learn more about the variations of Crohn’s and symptoms. Diagnosis is made through proper testing, which often involves an endoscopy and biopsy of the intestines.
Treatment can be a combination of medication and surgery, depending on how the individual’s body responds to medication and the severity of the disease. Obtaining sufficient nutrients is also important, as the inflammation and damage to the intestine may block proper absorption.
Some with Crohn’s find that a gluten-free diet is beneficial to their health. Kay’s Naturals is completely gluten free, high-protein, and all natural. To learn more about Kay’s Naturals snacks and cereals, click here.
Any personal views expressed on this blog are the writers’ own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Kay’s Naturals, Inc. It is recommended that you seek independent medical advice before making any decisions that can impact your health.