What is Crohn’s disease? (Infographic)
I’m about to reveal a secret… I suffer from Crohn’s disease. Ok, maybe it’s not that much of a secret, it’s partly what this blog is about. However, there are a lot of people who don’t fully understand what Crohn’s disease is. So, what is Crohn’s disease?
What is Crohn’s disease?
I’ve been asked this a lot of times since I was diagnosed what seems a lifetime ago. In fact, it’s only been around 7 years, but trust me it feels a lot longer.
If you don’t know what Crohn’s disease is, or have never even heard of it, don’t feel bad. Before I was delivered that gut punch, neither had I.
To answer the question of what is Crohn’s disease, I’ve put together a little infographic, because who doesn’t love an infographic. I’m actually mad about infographics, I think they’re incredible. They bring out the design geek in me, a good infographic is worth a thousand words or more.
What is Crohn’s disease and what causes it?
Crohn’s disease is a long-term chronic illness that can affect any part of the digestive system, from the gob to the poop chute. It causes the lining of the digestive system to become inflamed. Although it can affect the whole digestive system, it is most commonly found in the small intestine and the large intestine also called the ileum and the colon. Crohn’s disease is classed as a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
What causes Crohn’s disease is still unknown, it could be hereditary, genetic, or caused by risk factors such as environment.
- Around 20% of people with the disease have a relative with it.
- It can affect people of all ages but is often diagnosed before age 30.
- There is no known cure and sufferers rely on medication, diet or surgery to manage the disease.
- Crohn’s disease affects an estimated 1 in 1000 people and most people know someone who is affected by the disease.
What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and differ from person to person. There may be periods of time where no or few symptoms occur, then all of a sudden the disease can flare up.
Some of the main symptoms include frequent diarrhoea, sometimes containing blood and mucus, weight change, tummy pain which can be severe, fever and sickness, excessive fatigue and tiredness that no amount of sleep can cure.
8 out of 10 people with Crohn’s disease will need to have an operation at some point in their life. With some people needing several operations to treat symptoms and complications. Surgery is not a cure.
It’s a disease that is on the rise
In the UK someone is diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis every 30 minutes. Ulcerative Colitis, along with Crohn’s disease, are both forms of IBD.
Crohns and Colitis UK is a leading charity dedicated to helping people with the disease, but also their family and friends. They strive to make life better for people with Crohn’s and Colitis.
This is a charity I support wholeheartedly, I ran the Great North Run in support of them and raised a few quid towards the great work they do. So I plan on doing more runs to raise money wherever possible. I know first hand how difficult and isolating life with this disease can be.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with Crohn’s or Colitis, or just wants to find out some more information about them can check out their website.