Anatomy and Physiology 2
“Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder that commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine and large intestine and typically begins in late childhood or early adulthood,” said Dr. Gary Lichtenstein, Director of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “The disease causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, typically resulting in symptoms such as unpredictable and persistent diarrhea, fever and severe abdominal pain.”
According to a recent survey, Voices of Crohn’s, 60 percent of people with Crohn’s between the ages of 18 and 34 have been hospitalized within the last two years and more than half have required surgery within the past five years. Nevertheless, the majority of these people still find that their employers, families and friends underestimate the impact of the disease on their daily live.
The survey was conducted by Manhattan Research, on behalf of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America and the Digestive Disease National Coalition, and was sponsored by Centocor.
The Voices of Crohn’s survey examined three populations: the adult segment of the survey (people ages 18-27), families and the workplace. The survey results reveal that most people with Crohn’s have to visit more than one physician and in some cases, more than five physicians’ to obtain a proper diagnosis. Nearly half of the people surveyed also reported getting misdiagnosed and treated for other conditions prior to being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Significant findings among people in the adult segment include: Approximately 20 percent of respondents in the adult segment (ages 18-27) reported that not only does Crohn’s affect their relationships with employers, friends, family members and the general public, but also limits their longing to date and confidence to pursue higher education.
Significant findings among families include: The highly incommodious symptoms of Crohn’s disease not only affect the person, but can also be disruptive to family and spousal relationships. 93 percent of people with Crohn’s report the disease has an impact on their overall emotional well-being and nearly half of all people surveyed felt as though they needed help with routine needs due to the effects of the disease.
Significant findings in the workplace include” Based on reporting from survey respondents, it is estimated that the impact of the lost productivity for employers due to Crohn’s disease could be as high as 1.3 billion dollars per year. This estimated impact on productivity takes into account the more than 500,000 people currently diagnosed with Crohn’s and the finding that 45 percent of those surveyed missed and average of 25.8 days of work per year.
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease differ from individual to individual. For some, symptoms are so mild that treatment isn’t even necessary. For persons with severe symptoms, however, treatment makes life endurable.
Because no cure is currently available, treatment focuses on improving quality of life, inducing and maintaining remission, and minimizing the negative side effects of treatment. Current methods of treatment are various combinations of anti-inflammatory drugs, medications to suppress the immune system, antibiotics, medications that directly address symptoms, nutritional supplements, and surgery.
Treatment for Crohn’s disease depends on the location and severity of disease, complications, and response to previous treatment. The goals of treatment are to control inflammation, correct nutritional deficiencies, and relieve symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Treatment may include drugs, nutrition supplements, surgery, or a combination of these options. At this time, treatment can help control the disease, but there is no cure.
According to the Crohn’s & Colitis