The following guide covers Crohn’s Disease Facts and tips you should know about.
As you might already be aware, there are several challenges to living with Crohn’s Disease. Some of those are accepting that you have it in the first place.
In previous articles, we discussed what it is, and how it’s diagnosed. But, if you were just recently diagnosed, or know someone who has been, there are probably a few lingering questions you would like answers to, and didn’t think to ask your doctor.
However, some of the facts and tips that will be addressed here are also coming from people who have experience living with Crohn’s Disease, not just the doctors. Sometimes people living with it will have a better, or at least different, understanding through experience, rather than studying about it.
In other words, having information from both the medical field and those living with it can be beneficial. It can also help your family and friends have a better understanding of the blow you were just dealt with the diagnosis.
Crohn’s Disease Facts
Crohn’s is a Chronic Disease
Unfortunately, if you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, you are in it for the long haul. There is no cure, which is an extremely difficult fact to accept. When it’s in the active stages of the disease, it can be difficult to function even for normal daily tasks. Discomfort and unpredictability can make living with it difficult at times, with multiple tests and doctor visits, as well as medications and the side effects that come with those medications.
But, even though there isn’t a cure, there are treatments that will help bring a patient into remission and hopefully keep them there longer.
Crohn’s Disease Can Potentially be Critical
There are several ways that Crohn’s Disease can turn critical. When the digestive tract is inflamed, certain complications can follow, such as ulcers, abscesses within the intestinal wall, and bleeding.
It can also reach to other parts of the body and cause more damage such as the skin, joints, mouth, eyes, bile ducts, and even the liver. If it becomes severe enough, you are facing hospitalization.
Also, Crohn’s Disease can lead to an approximately 20% risk of colon cancer. While that isn’t a terribly high risk, Crohn’s patients should have regular screenings to best help catch a cancer in its earliest stages, if it’s going to develop.
It’s NOT Your Fault
People with Crohn’s Disease have done nothing to cause the disease. Contrary to what some might believe, stress, medications, diet, or any other lifestyle choice will not cause this disease. While the exact cause is unknown, there are some factors that are known to cause it, such as it being hereditary, or a worn down immune system from a virus.
Not only is the exact cause of developing the disease unknown, but when flare-ups occur, the reasons are also unknown.
You are Not Alone
There are approximately 700,000 cases of Crohn’s Disease in the U.S. alone. So, you have company. The good news about this means that there are support groups to help people cope with it better and learn from each other some ideas on what ideas work, and what doesn’t.
Also, since it’s not a rare disease, the likelihood of research getting funded, and financial assistance increases.
Treatment Options Vary
Even though there is no cure, Crohn’s Disease can be managed with options of several available treatments. They will vary between patients, depending on what works best for them. When treating the disease, the biggest concern is often reducing the inflammation. By doing this, most other symptoms will subside, as well as reduce the risk of further complications that could arise.
A wide range of medications can help reduce relapses, such as immuno-suppressants, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics. And, if you try something and it doesn’t work, something else most likely will. If medications don’t work, surgery is an option. But, we will further discuss treatment options in the next article.
Replenishing Lost Nutrients and Getting Exercise
With Crohn’s Disease, you can expect to lose not only your appetite, but also vital nutrients. In fact, in severe relapses, it could lead to malnutrition. Your doctor might recommend meeting with a dietician for what is best for your individual needs. But, the following is considered a standard diet for a Crohn’s patient:
- Drink lots of water
- Dairy products should be limited
- Eat low-fat foods
- Increase your fiber intake
- Avoid foods that produce gas
- Cut portion size in meals
Exercise is also important when battling Crohn’s Disease, because strengthening the body tends to help the immune system as well. It can also help with the following:
- Improve overall health
- Reduces stress
- Controls weight
- Helps with anxiety and depression
During an active relapse, you might not feel like exercising, which is understandable. But, while you are in remission, it’s best to keep the body as healthy as possible. Check with your doctor to see what exercises are best for your specific condition.
Crohn’s Disease Facts – Final Thoughts
To sum it up, it’s best to keep regular appointments with your physician, eat right, and exercise when you can. It will significantly improve the quality of life for a person living with Crohn’s Disease.