Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestinal tract. It mainly affects the distal ileum and colon. Symptoms are predominately severe abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Causes: The cause is not well understood but it is considered an autoimmune disease. Many complex factors are associated with Crohn’s. They include genetics, impaired immune system response, and environmental triggers. The result is an abnormal immune system reaction, which in turn causes an inflammatory response in the body’s intestinal regions.
Signs and Symptoms: The most common symptoms include diarrhea, with abdominal pain usually in the lower right side with fever, nausea, vomiting and weight loss. Sometimes rectal bleeding can occur. Patients can develop anal fissures, fistulas and abscesses. Once chronic a patient can develop arthritis and severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as B12,zinc, vitamin D, calcium and iron deficiency.
Diagnosis: The use of x-rays, CT scans and barium enema x-rays, colonoscopy and endoscopy are diagnostic.