Finding a supportive community can help those first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
When Garth Swanson’s patients learn they have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, one of the first things they tend to do is seek out others who have it too—friends, family members, people online.
Finding a supportive community can offer relief at a stressful time, but the resulting conversations sometimes lead to confusion. “Comparing notes with another Crohn’s patient can create misunderstandings,” explains Swanson, MD, a gastroenterologist at Rush. ‘”Because Crohn’s disease is not Crohn’s disease is not Crohn’s disease. It’s very, very different from person to person.”
This is one of several things Swanson hopes his patients keep in mind:
1. Crohn’s disease is different for everyone.
Crohn’s, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is an autoimmune condition. In people who have it, the immune system periodically attacks the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, leading to inflammation. These attacks, or flares, cause symptoms including abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea and rectal bleeding.
Crohn’s can occur anywhere in the GI tract, but about 70 percent of the time it affects the bottom of the small intestine and the top of the large intestine. This is called ileocolonic Crohn’s. About 30 percent of patients have Crohn’s colitis, which affects only the large intestine.
Location of disease can cause some differences in symptoms, symptom severity and response to treatment. But these things differ widely even among people with the same type of Crohn’s. Doctors don’t yet know exactly what causes these differences.
Read full article: A gastroenterologist sheds light on Crohn’s
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