Chromes Disease is actually Crohn’s disease. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes the lining of the digestive tract to become inflamed. The condition produces abdominal pain and severe diarrhea. Inflammation in the digestive tract often spreads deeper into the affected tissues, causing debilitating pain, and it can lead to serious complications. There is no cure for Crohn’s disease. However with different types of treatments, the symptoms of the disease can be reduced.
While it’s not known what causes Crohn’s disease, it’s believed that the immune system and heredity play a big role. One micro-organism, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, has been found in the intestinal tissues and blood of many people who have Crohn’s disease. While it’s not been proven, it’s believed by many health professionals that this micro-organism may be what triggers the disease. Heredity may also be a factor. Roughly 20 percent of Crohn’s disease patients have a sibling, parent or child who also has the disease.
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease may develop suddenly or come on gradually. They may be severe or mild. Symptoms include diarrhea—sometimes a dozen or more bowel movements in a day, abdominal cramping and pain that is sometimes accompanied with nausea and vomiting, bloody stools, ulcers in the intestine and mouth, loss of appetite and weight loss, abscesses or fistulas, fever, fatigue, arthritis, skin disorders, eye inflammation and inflammation of the liver and/or bile ducts. Children with the disease may have slow development.
Crohn’s disease crosses all age and race lines. However, diagnosis of Crohn’s disease is most common in people between 20 and 30 years of age. Whites are at the highest risk for developing the disease. However, individuals who are of Jewish European descent are four times more likely to have Crohn’s disease. Your risk of developing the disease is higher if you have someone in your family who has the disease. Individuals who live in urban areas and/or Northern climates are more likely to develop Crohn’s disease. Smokers are more likely to develop the disease, as are individuals who have used Accutane—a powerful acne medication.
Blood tests that test for specific antibodies in the blood can help doctors diagnose Crohn’s Disease. Colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, capsule endoscopy, barium enemas and x-rays, biopsies of intestinal tissue and computerized tomography, also known as CT scans, can help with diagnosis.
Treatment for Crohn’s disease includes medication and, in some cases, surgery. Doctors often prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids, mesalamine and sulfasalazine. They may also prescribe steroid enemas and immune system suppressors, the most common being Remicade and Purinethol. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to reduce harmful intestinal bacteria. Patients may also be prescribed anti-diarrheals, laxatives, pain relievers, iron supplements, vitamins, and be placed on special diets. People who aren’t helped with drug therapy and other treatments may have to undergo surgery. Surgery may include removing the damaged portions of the digestive tract, removing scar tissue and/or closing fistulas.