Crohn's disease, ileitis or enteritis is a medical condition that is known to cause inflammation of the digestive system also known as gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This condition affects any part of the gastrointestinal tract, starting from the mouth to the anus, but it mostly affecting the ileum (USFDA,2008). The inflammation may penetrate deep into the lining of the organs affected thereby causing pain making the intestines occasionally empty, resulting in diarrhoea.
Similarity in symptoms with other intestinal disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, makes Crohn's disease difficult to diagnose. Ulcerative colitis results in inflamed ulcers on the top lining of the large intestine while in Crohn's disease all the layers of the intestines are involved, and healthy bowel may be occur in between parts of the affected bowel. Other symptoms include, fever, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, tenesmus, and persistent, watery diarrhoea.
The disease is known to affect both genders in equal measures though it may be genetic thus 20% of people with Crohn's disease inherits it from blood relations with inflammatory bowel condition mostly a sibling or the parents It affects people of all age groups but is more pronounced in people of ages 20-30 and those of Jewish background in while it is less diagnosed in the African-American population (NDDIC, 2006).
Several hypotheses have been forwarded in an attempt to explain the causes of Crohn's disease. One such theory states that the immune system of people with this condition reacts exceptionally with food, bacteria, and other substance recognizing them as antigens therefore responding by attacking them. The white blood cells accumulate intestinal layers Another Theory states that either the body's reaction to the foreign substances or the substances themselves may be the root cause of inflammation and that the genes, the environment, the immune system and other factors may be responsible.
It has been suggested that Crohn's disease's incidence in the industrialized world can be attributed to certain environmental causes. This is because it has for sometime been associated with an increased uptake of food containing animal protein as well as milk protein .The individuals who consumer foodstuffs containing vegetable proteins appear to have lowered incidences of the Crohn's disease
The opinion that Crohn's disease is technically an autoimmune disorder of T cell means that it could be as a result of an impaired immune system (Marks & Segal,2008,p.263)
Crohn's disease has got several complications that may include the blocking of intestines due to thickening of the walls that is caused by swelling and scar tissues hence narrowing the passage. The condition is also responsible for sores and ulcers found on the affected parts and the surrounding tissues, like the bladder, reproductive system, and epidermis. Fistula is also one of the complications and may require medication and in some cases surgery. Fissures may also be found developing in the mucal membrane of the anus.
Nutritional complications are also familiar with Crohn's condition and may include deficiency of proteins, vitamins and calories. This is as a result of malabsorption, poor intake of diets and loss of proteins by the intestines. Other complications include; arthritis, skin/epidermal complications, eyes and mouth inflammation, kidney stones, gallstones, liver and biliary system problem.
To diagnose Crohn's disease, physical examination and several clinical tests are carried out. These includes blood tests to look out if the patient suffers from anemia, which could in turn be indicative of intestinal bleeding, The tests may also reveal a high white blood cell count, which is a sign of inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Conducting stool sample tests may also indicate intestinal bleeding or infection. Albumin test may also be necessary when presented with symptom such as fatigue, weight loss, swelling around the eyes, belly and legs in order to distinguish the condition from diseases that present the same symptoms such as liver disorders and nephritic syndrome. A medical practitioner may also undertake an upper gastrointestinal test using barium solution and x rays in order to indicate presence of inflammation in the small intestines. Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy may also be conducted for visual examination of the colon and small intestines respectively. Other test that may be conducted includes computed tomography of the abdominal area, endoscopy, enteroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging.
To treat Crohn's disease, a lot of options are available, these may include the use of drugs, surgery, nutritional supplements or a combination of all the above in severe…