Crohn Disease

Crohn’s disease primarily affects the digestive system, particularly the ileum (the lower part of the small intestine) though portions of the large intestine (the colon) may also become affected. Conditions typically involve abnormal inflammation of the intestinal walls and inflammation can occur anywhere from the mouth to the anus.


Most commonly Crohn disease appears in a person’s middle to late teens but can appear at any age. There is no known cause of Crohn disease though a variety of genetic and environmental factors are likely to play a role in causing Crohn disease. Research suggests that variations such as changes in the immune system and the presence of bacteria in the digestive tract may disrupt the ability of cells in the intestine to respond normally to bacteria. Recent studies suggest that the genes responsible for providing instruction for making proteins are disrupted causing an abnormal immune response to bacteria in the intestinal wall and are thought to lead to the chronic inflammation characteristic of Crohn disease.

Common symptoms of this condition are diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, loss of appetite, weight loss and fever. Some people with Crohn disease may experience chronic bleeding from inflamed tissues in the intestine which may lead to anemia. Individuals with Crohn disease may also experience intestinal blockage caused by swelling or a build up of scar tissue in the intestinal walls. Some may also develop fistula (abnormal connections between the intestine and other tissues such as the bladder, vagina or skin). Fistulae occur when ulcers break through the intestinal wall to form passages between loops of the intestine or between the intestine and nearby structures.

Doctors treat Crohn disease with medicines, bowel res and surgery. The goal of treatment is to decrease the inflammation in the intestines, to prevent flare ups and to keep affected persons in remission. Depending on the symptoms changes in diet may be suggested to help manage Crohn disease.

Diagnosis is not accomplished by one test however by multiple tests. To find a genetics professional you may wish to speak with you personal physician or insurance company. There are several resource for locating genetic professionals online.

Article Reference:

Crohn’s Disease

Related Information:

Crohn’s education and facts

Crohn’s research and resources

Crohn’s treatment options

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