60-Second Factfile: Crohn’s disease
Symptoms: Abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fatigue, blood and mucus in stools and unintentional weight loss.
Living with Crohn’s disease: A long-term condition, Crohn’s disease affects around 115,000 people in the UK. It is an inflammation of the lining of the digestive system, which is most commonly found in the last section of the small intestine.
Crohn’s disease can occur for many reasons, these can include genetics, a problem with the immune system or having had a previous infection that causes the immune system to respond unusually. If you suffer from Crohn’s and are a smoker, the symptoms are likely to be worse than in those who don’t smoke.
Treatment: Although there is no cure for the disease, there are certain treatment options to handle the symptoms. This can include steroids, immunosuppressants, and in some cases surgery to remove the section of the intestine affected.
Mythbuster: Some people often confuse Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Like Crohn’s, IBS affects the digestive system, but is more affected by food and stress. The symptoms of IBS include constipation, diarrhoea and cramps, and it is most commonly treated by making certain lifestyle changes.