Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.
Inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people. This inflammation often spreads into the deeper layers of the bowel.
How common is Crohn’s disease?
An estimated half a million Americans have Crohn’s disease. This can include men, women and children.
Who might get Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease typically appears in younger people – often in their late teens, 20s or early 30s. However, this condition can happen at any age. It’s equally common in men and women. Crohn’s disease can also be seen in young children.
If you’re a cigarette smoker, your risk of Crohn’s disease might be higher than non-smokers.
What are the types of Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease can affect different sections of the digestive tract. Types of Crohn’s disease include:
Ileocolitis: Inflammation occurs in the small intestine and part of the large intestine, or colon. Ileocolitis is the most common type of Crohn’s disease.
Ileitis: Swelling and inflammation develop in the small intestine (ileum).
Gastroduodenal: Inflammation and irritation affect the stomach and the top of the small intestine (the duodenum).
Jejunoileitis: Patchy areas of inflammation develop in the upper half of the small intestine (called the jejunum).
What causes Crohn’s disease?
There’s no known cause of Crohn’s disease. Certain factors may increase your risk of developing the condition, including:
Autoimmune disease: Bacteria in the digestive tract may cause the body’s immune system to attack your healthy cells.
Genes: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) often runs in families. If you have a parent, sibling or other family member with Crohn’s, you may be at an increased risk of also having it. There are several specific mutations (changes) to your genes that can predispose people to developing Crohn’s disease.
Smoking: Cigarette smoking could as much as double your risk of Crohn’s disease.
What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
People with Crohn’s disease can experience periods of severe symptoms (flare-ups) followed by periods of no or very mild symptoms (remission). Remission can last weeks or even years. There’s no way to predict when flare-ups will happen.
If you have Crohn’s disease, symptoms you might have can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Chronic diarrhea
- A feeling of fullness
- A loss of your appetite
- Weight loss
- Abnormal skin tags (usually on your buttocks)
- Anal fissures
- Anal fistulas
- Rectal bleeding
What is the prognosis (outlook) for people with Crohn’s disease?
Most people with Crohn’s disease enjoy healthy, active lives. While there isn’t a cure for Crohn’s disease, treatments and lifestyle changes can keep the disease in remission and prevent complications.
Infusion Therapy for Crohn’s Disease
The following drugs are the most prescribed for infusion therapy:
- Remicade (infliximab)
These medications decrease inflammation of the bowels, as well as alleviates Crohn’s disease symptoms. It’s typically prescribed for patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease who haven’t obtained results from oral medications.
Infusions could help you cope with Crohn’s because they’re more precise than traditional corticosteroids and immunomodulators.
A benefit of IV therapy for Crohn’s disease is that — in addition to reducing symptoms — it may also keep the condition in remission. This is excellent news for people with Crohn’s since symptoms only appear during flareups.
Are there Side effects?
It’s always recommended to receive infusion treatments in an outpatient center instead of at home since it’s also possible to have an allergic reaction.