[Health Info] The Facts About Crohn’s Disease May Surprise You

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Crohn’s disease is a serious medical condition that may considerably deteriorate one’s quality of life or even lead to death if untreated. Malnutrition, increased risk of colon cancer, ulcers, and bowel obstruction are just some of the many complications of Crohn’s disease [1]. Luckily, there is more information than ever before about Crohn’s disease online.

A person in pain holding their belly.

Like any other disease, Crohn’s disease requires fast treatment. Read on to find out whether you should worry about this condition or not.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Are On The Rise Across The Globe

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), among them Crohn’s disease, are growing worldwide due to a Westernized lifestyle and associated environmental factors [2].

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2015, 3 million U.S. adults (about 1.3%) were reported to have an IBD diagnosis – either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease [3]. This was a considerable increase from 2 million adults (0.9%) in 1999.

Most people with IBD are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s.

A few more interesting stats from the U.S. CDC:

  • Between 2003 and 2013, the incidence of Crohn’s disease when listed as a secondary diagnosis among hospitalized patients grew from 44.2 to 59.7 per 100,000 people. However, the hospitalization rate when the disease was the primary diagnosis hasn’t changed significantly.
  • The mean hospitalization costs in the reviewed period for Crohn’s disease were $11,345.
  • From 2003 to 2008, hospitalization costs increased annually by 3% for Crohn’s disease but remained unchanged from 2008 to 2014.

The incidence of Crohn’s disease and IBDs in general is high in Canada as well. According to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, 270,000 Canadians had IBD as of 2018, and the number is expected to grow to 400,000 by 2030 [4]. In 2018, there were over 7,000 Canadians under 18 with Crohn’s disease or colitis, which is 50% higher than 10 years earlier.

In the UK, an estimated 300,000 people suffer from IBD, which roughly equates to 1 in every 210 people [5]. As for Crohn’s disease, it’s estimated to affect about 1 in every 650 people in the country [6].

Who Can Get Crohn’s Disease?

Anyone can get Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, but children are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as ulcerative colitis [7]. Among Americans, Crohn’s disease is slightly more common in females.

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. Previously, diet and stress have been thought to be major culprits – now, it’s known that these factors may aggravate but not cause Crohn’s disease [1].

Heredity is thought to be a major factor for Crohn’s disease – however, most people with Crohn’s don’t have a family history of the disease. The condition may be triggered by a virus or bacterium as well.

Some people are more likely to report having IBD, including [3]:

  • Aged 45 or more.
  • Hispanic or non-Hispanic white.
  • Living in poverty.
  • Living in suburban areas.
  • Born in the United States (as opposed to those born outside of the US).
  • Currently unemployed.
  • With less than a high school level of education.

Mayo Clinic lists the following risk factors for Crohn’s disease [1]:

  • Age. Most people are diagnosed with the disease before the age of about 30.
  • Ethnicity. People of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish descent have a particularly high incidence of Crohn’s disease. The incidence of the disease is also increasing among Black people in the UK and North America.
  • Family history. 1 in 5 people with Crohn’s has a family member with the disease.
  • Smoking. Smoking may worsen an existing condition and increase the risk of having surgery.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, diclofenac sodium, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may lead to bowel inflammation and aggravate Crohn’s disease.

What Are The Symptoms Of Crohn’s Disease?

Among the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:

  • Abdominal cramping and pain.
  • Bloody stool.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Unexplained fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Reduced appetite or unexplained weight loss.
  • Pain or drainage near or around the anus.

In the case of severe Crohn’s disease, you may see:

  • Delayed growth or sexual development in children.
  • Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts.
  • Inflammation of eyes, skin, and joints.
  • Iron deficiency.
  • Kidney stones.

When Should You See A Doctor?

Mayo Clinic recommends addressing a doctor if you spot any persistent changes in your bowel habits or if you have the symptoms listed earlier.

No matter what, it’s crucial to act fast. If you notice any unexpected or weird symptoms, get in touch with a doctor right away. Luckily, there are more resources about Crohn’s disease symptoms and treatment online today than ever before.

 

 

 

Sources:
  1. “Crohn’s disease”, Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/crohns-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353304.
  2. “Inflammatory Bowel Disease: An Expanding Global Health Problem”, Clinical Medicine Insights. Gastroenterology, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4020403/.
  3. “Inflammatory Bowel Disease Prevalence (IBD) in the United States”, U.S. CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/ibd/data-statistics.htm.
  4. “Impact of IBD in Canada Report”, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, https://crohnsandcolitis.ca/About-Us/Resources-Publications/Impact-of-IBD-Report.
  5. “Statistics”, St Mark’s Hospital Foundation, https://www.stmarkshospitalfoundation.org.uk/how-we-are-saving-lives/statistics/.
  6. “Crohn’s Disease”, Crohn’s & Colitis UK, https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/about-crohns-and-colitis/publications/crohns-disease.
  7. “Crohn’s Disease: Facts, Statistics, and You”, Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/facts-statistics-infographic.
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