Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition primarily involving the intestinal tract that predominantly affects young adults between 16 and 40 living in northern, industrialized areas, such as the United States and northern Europe. About 20 percent of the estimated 500,000 people with Crohn’s have a family member with the disease.
Crohn’s is diagnosed through a physical examination, review of symptoms and family history.
In addition, testing may include barium x-rays of the upper and lower intestinal tract, a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, which allow a direct examination of the colon with a lighted tube inserted through the anus, and intestinal biopsies.
The cause and how to prevent Crohn’s is unknown.
Medical treatment with anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive medication to control symptoms is the preferred initial form of therapy.
However, surgery to remove the diseased segment of the bowel and join the healthy bowel ends together, called resection and anastamosis, is recommended in more advanced or complicated cases.