Symptoms present in various classes of Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease is a chronic (severe and persisting from weeks to months after tissue damage) inflammatory (natural defense mechanism of the human body against injury, infection and allergy marked by an increase in regional blood flow, migration of white blood cells and release of chemical toxins) bowel disease that can affect anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract (digestive tract) starting from the mouth to the anus (rectum). Inflammation causes swelling, redness and loss of normal function. People of any age can be diagnosed with this disease.
Crohn’s disease is known as Crones that affects primarily the small intestine and the colon (part of the large intestine connecting the small intestine with the anal canal). The inflammation affects all the layers of the intestine but it is not continuous i.e. affected portion of intestine may remain separated by segments of normal, unaffected intestine. Crohn’s disease is classified according to the part of the bowel infected.
Crohn’s colitis (also called Granulomatous colitis and Crohn’s-colitis):
This type of inflammation is restricted in colon of large intestine. Patients experience abdominal cramps and diarrhea with blood. Crohn’s colitis is frequently observed to be a secondary inflammation after the small intestine is infected or has been removed through surgery after severe Crohn’s disease symptoms and complications. Colon can also be indirectly infected due to fistula (abnormal tube-like channels connecting a normal cavity or tube to another cavity, organ or free surface) formation from the site of small intestine that is already infected with Crohn’s disease. Common complications are anal fistulae and peri-rectal (extending around the anus) abscesses (localized collection of pus due to invasion of foreign micro-organisms). Crohn’s patient suffering from this form of Crones also has other symptoms outside intestine, such as, joint pain and skin inflammation.
Here inflammation affects both the upper region (jejunum) and the lower region (ileum) of the intestine. Crones symptoms include abdominal pain, usually after meals; diarrhea with blood; and in chronic (severe) cases obstruction of small intestine; and fistula formation. Obstruction of small intestine prevents absorption of nutrients from food and this leads to malnutrition.
This form of inflammation involves the ileum (lower part of the small intestine) alone. Symptoms are similar to those in Crohn’s enteritis.
Crohn’s terminal ileitis:
Here the inflammation affects the very end of ileum (lower part of the small intestine). Typical Crohn’s disease symptoms include diarrhea; painful cramps, particularly after meals, in lower-right portion of the abdomen; and also development of abscesses and fistulas in the same region.
This involves inflammation in upper half of small intestine (jejunum). Common symptoms include abdominal pain and abdominal pain. Complicated Crohn’s disease symptoms are fistula formation and malnutrition.
Crohn’s entero-colitis (also known as Crohn’s ileo-colitis):
These are the most common forms of Crohn’s disease where both the colon and the small intestine are affected. Typical Crohn’s disease symptoms include diarrhea with blood, abdominal pain and weight loss. In severe cases complications like intestine (bowel) obstruction (blockage), malnutrition and fistula formation occur.
In this form of Crones disease the stomach and the first part of the small intestine is affected. Common symptoms for this include nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss and pain in upper-middle region of abdomen. This form occurs very rarely.
Crohn’s patients suffer with this illness throughout their lives. They have to go through certain periods of relapses (reoccurrence of a disease or symptoms after apparent recovery) and then remission (inactive stage of disease after chronic condition) and the cycle continues. Crones symptoms improve during remission but they get worse during relapses. Sometimes patients are known to live a normal, symptom-free life for years to decades. In severe cases the Crohn’s patients are constantly bothered by symptoms, whereas, in mild cases the patients face fewer symptoms and longer periods of remission.
There is no absolute cure for Crohn’s disease symptoms. Certain medications (such as anti-inflammatories, immune suppressors, and antibiotics) are available to relief the Crohn’s patients from the disease symptoms but this is temporary. When Crohn’s disease symptoms become complicated, the Crohn’s patient has to undergo surgery.
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