Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect any part of the digestive tract, starting from the oral cavity.

However, Crohn's disease primarily occurs in the area of the small or large intestine. This inflammatory bowel disease is characterized by episodes of active inflammation and remission, meaning the absence of symptoms.

During active periods, symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe problems and complications.

During remission, the symptoms are less pronounced or completely absent. It is symptomatic that Crohn's disease does not affect the entire intestine but leaves healthy segments between the affected parts.

What is Crohn's disease? Symptoms and Diagnosis

The main symptoms of the disease are related to gastrointestinal issues, while secondary symptoms may manifest as joint pain, eye problems, or skin redness.

The primary symptoms of Crohn's disease include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • High fever
  • Incomplete bowel movements
  • Constipation
  • Blood in the stool
  • Anal pain
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Weight loss
  • Unexplained fatigue

Secondary symptoms, which also occasionally occur but not in all individuals, include:

  • Redness of the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Skin redness with bumps
  • Joint pain

The diagnosis of Crohn's disease is established based on a specialist examination, clinical presentation, and laboratory tests. In some cases, a colonoscopy and tissue biopsy may be necessary.

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease: Similarities and Differences

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis exhibit very similar symptoms. It is estimated that in 10% of cases, it is not possible to make a clear distinction between the symptoms of these two diseases.

The key difference between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease is reflected in the following characteristics:

  • Ulcerative colitis usually affects only the colon (large intestine) and rectum, while Crohn's disease can affect any part of the digestive tract.
  • In ulcerative colitis, inflammation is superficial and mainly involves the mucosa of the colon. On the other hand, Crohn's disease causes inflammation that can penetrate the wall of the intestine, creating small nodules.
  • Crohn's disease, in some cases, can cause joint inflammation or skin changes, which are not characteristic of colitis.
  • Colitis typically continuously affects a part of the colon, while Crohn's disease involves segmented parts.

Crohn's Disease: Diet and Therapy

A customized dietary plan is crucial for managing the symptoms of Crohn's disease.

Although the dietary plan needs to be individually tailored to each patient, there are general dietary guidelines recommended for individuals with Crohn's disease.

Avoiding dairy products, processed sugars, very fatty foods, and hard-to-digest fiber is advised, especially for individuals with narrowed bowels.

Additionally, it is recommended to replace large meals with several smaller portions throughout the day to reduce the burden on the intestines.

During periods of weight loss, sufficient protein intake is recommended to maintain muscle mass.

When introducing changes, it is essential to monitor reactions to specific foods and eliminate them from the diet accordingly.

Is Crohn's Disease Curable?

Crohn's disease is a chronic condition with periodic episodes of worsening symptoms and periods of remission when symptoms are less pronounced or completely resolve.

Unfortunately, a cure for Crohn's disease has not yet been found, but its symptoms can be successfully reduced and kept under control.

The goal of treatment is to maintain the disease in remission for as long as possible to avoid complications and provide the patient with a more comfortable life.

Although the disease can be controlled through medication and dietary changes, in severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.

However, surgical treatment, unfortunately, does not guarantee the complete elimination of the disease.

By adhering to a dietary plan and undergoing therapy, patients can enter a phase of prolonged remission, but the disease will not completely disappear.

Does the Blood Count Worsen in Crohn's Disease?

Although a blood count is not a specific test for diagnosing Crohn's disease, its examination is certainly an integral part of diagnosis and treatment.

It is monitored to obtain a complete picture of the person's health and any changes in the body.

Crohn's disease is characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestines, and an increased number of white blood cells indicates the presence of inflammation in the body.

In addition, a low level of red blood cells and hemoglobin indicates anemia, which can manifest in individuals with Crohn's disease.

Does Crohn's Disease in Children Affect Growth?

Although less common than in adults, Crohn's disease can occur in children.

The issue is that Crohn's disease in children, unlike in adults, can impact the child's growth and development.

The symptoms of Crohn's disease in children are similar to those in adults, primarily including stomach pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and decreased appetite.

Diagnosis is based on a physical examination, medical history, and laboratory tests, and sometimes a colonoscopy and tissue biopsy may be necessary.

Crohn's Disease Therapy and Treatment

As mentioned earlier, Crohn's disease in adults cannot be completely cured. However, by applying therapy and adhering to the prescribed dietary plan, the withdrawal of symptoms can be achieved, and a quality life can be established.

In addition to adapted nutrition, the foundation of Crohn's disease therapy consists of anti-inflammatory medications that regulate inflammation.

Corticosteroids, aminosalicylates, immunomodulators, and biologic drugs are often prescribed as well.

Supplements that regulate iron levels in the blood and prevent anemia are also frequently recommended.

While there hasn't been a recorded case of a patient overcoming Crohn's disease, adhering to the prescribed diet and regularly taking medications can successfully keep the disease under control and maintain long-term remission.




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