More Than A Stomach Ache | Medical Minute Monday Ep. 7


Hello and welcome to this week’s Medical
Minute, today we will be talking about Crohn’s Disease. Crohn’s Disease is a condition that falls
under the category of inflammatory bowel disease and results in chronic inflammation and ulceration
of the gastrointestinal tract. It’s important to know that inflammatory
bowel disease is not the same as inflammatory bowel syndrome. While the two share similar symptoms, IBS
is a functional disorder. The GI tract looks normal but doesn’t function
as it should. As is seen in most chronic illness, patient’s
with Crohn’s disease experience episodic flare ups as well as periods of remission
of the symptoms. The CDC reports a prevalence of 26 to 199
cases per 100,000 persons in the U.S. The incidence rate is between 3.1 to 14.6
cases per 100,000 persons each year. Crohn’s disease is often diagnosed before
the age of 30. It’s more prevalent in women, smokers, and
those of Caucasian and Ashkenazic Jewish origin. The inflammation and ulceration seen with
Crohn’s disease is a result of the immune system attacking sections of the digestive
tract, but the specific etiology is not well understood. It is believed to be an environmental response
to something in the GI tract, not a response to the body’s own cells, so many refrain
from classifying the disease as an autoimmune disease. The area of the GI tract most commonly affected
by this condition is where the end of the small intestine, the ileum, meets the beginning
of the large intestine, the cecum. With that said, it should be noted that Crohn’s
can affect any part of the GI tract from the mouth to the rectum. In Crohn’s Disease, inflammation can impact
all layers of the bowel wall and inflammation can be dispersed throughout the GI tract with
areas of normally functioning tissue in between. Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
Frequent Diarrhea Rectal bleeding
Unexpected, urgent bowel movements Abdominal pain and cramping
Constipation Sense of incomplete bowel movements
Other general symptoms include Fever
A loss of appetite Weight loss
And fatigue In severe cases, Crohn’s disease can cause
anal fissures as well as fistulas, or a tunnel of tissues that connects different organs,
requiring urgent medical intervention. Individuals who suspect they have Crohn’s
disease are advised to meet with a primary care provider who may refer them to a gastroenterologist. When confirming Crohn’s disease, a healthcare
provider may test for the blood for anemia or infection, and they will also likely test
the stool for blood. A colonoscopy and CT of the abdomen and pelvis
are also frequently performed. A colonoscopy is used to visualise the entire
colon and the end of the ileum. A sample of the inflamed cells obtained from
a biopsy during this procedure is one of the most helpful confirmations of the disease. The treatment of Crohn’s disease involves
a combination of: Anti-inflammatory drugs
Immune system suppressors Anti-diarrheals
and nutritional therapy With any chronic illness, seeking additional
information, joining a support group, and talking to a therapist are recommended. I hope you learned something new with this
week’s medical minute on Crohn’s Disease! As always, thanks for joining me this week. I’ll see you next Monday for a review of
Aspirin!

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