Have you heard of Crohn’s Disease? Following a previous post about Ehlers Danlos, I wanted to continue raising awareness of more conditions. I never delved in deep enough to find out what it actually is and how it can affect a person.
Often, people do not realise the limitations a particular condition can have on an individual. They can be blind, just because a person looks physically well. This does not mean to say that they are not struggling or dealing with someone who is tough.
Taking Crohn’s into account, it is a chronic inflammatory disease where the NHS describes it as:
“a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.”
It can start at any age, even childhood. In fact, every 30 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, which are known to be the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
In addition, according to the NHS, today as a minimum there are 115,000 people living with the condition in the UK.
The symptoms associated with the condition can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Unintended weight loss
- Blood and mucus in your stools
Mouth ulcers, fevers and anaemia are also common symptoms known to be associated with Crohn’s. These along with other complications such as inflammation of the eyes, weaker bones and liver inflammation can occur.
There is no exact cause however gathered research other the years has suggested some possible factors. These include:
- Immune System
- Infection (prior to the being diagnosed)
- Environmental factors
Depending on whether your case is mild or severe, treatments range from medication to surgical actions.
To find out more visit the NHS page.
The perfect opportunity has arisen for me to speak to Katie Guy who suffers from Crohn’s Disease. She is my boyfriend’s sister, therefore I am aware of all the many appointments that she has to attend, which means scan after scan, finding the right medication to suit her and so forth.
Here are the questions and Katie’s answers below.
When was you diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease?
Does the condition disrupt your relationships, work or lifestyle in any way?
Yes as it can come on anytime. Sometimes I am too nervous to go out in public as I never know when it will hit me.
What effect has Crohn’s had on your diet?
It has a major effect as I have to watch what I eat. I can’t have anything wholemeal, anything with seeds or pips, or anything with skin on it. I must have a low residue diet.
Have you ever had any major side effects from medication?
Nothing so far.
What is the biggest challenge for you when it comes to living with Crohn’s?
The biggest challenge is food as I have to be really careful what I am eating. The slightest bit of food I can’t have can set me right off and I will be in agony with pain.
Do you have any advice for people who are relatively new to their diagnosis with Crohn’s?
Yes don’t let it affect your life never be too afraid to admit what you have, take one step at a time with it. Some medication does help but not always. Make sure you do plenty of research and join the Crohn’s and Colitis website as there is a lot of useful information on there.
Thank you Katie for sharing your experience of living with Crohn’s.
For further information and details of upcoming events visit Crohn’s and Colitis UK.