Crohn’s Disease is a genetic disease affecting the gastrointestinal tract. This disease results in inflammation of any partof the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus. Crohn’s disease is chronic (long term) and progressive autoimmune disorder. This means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of its own gastrointesinal tract causing in inflammation and the build up of fibrotic scar tissue.
Crohn’s disease manifests as inflammation (swelling) of the muscosal associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcers may be generated on the wall of the bowel, and in cracks, or fissures of the intestine such as the ileocolonic junction, the junction between the small and large intestines.
- abdominal pain
- blood tinged or mucus laced stool
- emisis (vomiting)
- weight loss
- skin rash
- Crohn’s ileitis: affects part of the small intestine, the ileum only accounts for 30% of all cases
- Crohn’s colitis: affects the large intestine, the colon only, accounts for 20% of all cases
- 50% of cases result from both the small and large intestine being affected
- esophageal, oraland Crohn’s disease affecting the stomach account for a minority of the cases
- bowel obstruction where the build up of fibroitc scar tissue from prolonged inflammation results in gastrointestinal blockages.
- fistulas when abnormal passageways are created due to tissue destruction between the bowel and other structures such as the skin
- abscesses occur when an abnormal connection or passageway forms between two epithelial-lined organs or vessels that normally do not connect.
- bowel resection if the build up of fibrotic scar tissue from prolonged inflammation results in gastrointestinal blockages.
- dietary changes such as a low fiber diet and avoidance of foods that heighten the autoimmune response
- dietary supplements such as iron to manage anemia
- symptoms may be controlled with corticosteroids, immunomodulators and anti-inflammatory medications
The disease was independently described in 1904 by Polish surgeon Antoni Lesniowski and in 1932 by American gastroenterologist Burrill Berbard Crohn, after whom the disease was named.
Arnold, Robin et al. 2001. Anatomica The Complete Medical Encyclopedia. Global Book Publishing Pty Ltd. Hong Kong.