Crohn’s disease is a type of chronic disorder that creates inflammation along the digestive tract or the gastrointestinal tract, also known as the GI tract. As an ongoing condition, it’s important for anyone that has Crohn’s disease to work with one of the gastroenterology specialists at our Ocean Parkway or Cobble Hill offices in Brooklyn, NY for ongoing care and support. This condition can vary and involve any component of the GI tract from the mouth through the digestive system to the anus. It is most common for people who suffer from pain and discomfort caused by the disease in the small intense and the colon.
Understanding Crohn’s Disease
The condition was first studied and researched by Dr. Burrill B. Crohn, Dr. Leon Ginzburg, and Dr. Gordon D. Oppenheimer. The three men published a landmark paper that described the condition in 1932. Crohn’s disease as well as ulcerative colitis, a type of related condition, are two of the largest types of conditions that are a part of a group of illnesses called inflammatory bowel disease or IBD. If you’ve been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, or you believe you have it, your Crohn’s disease doctor in Brooklyn will work closely with you to understand the exact origin of your condition whenever possible.
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are very much the same. It can be hard for doctors to pinpoint which condition you have initially. And, it is estimated that about 10 percent of all people with colitis are unable to pinpoint what type they have – Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. In these cases, individuals will simply have indeterminate colitis.
What Occurs in Crohn’s Disease?
Both conditions have a strong link in symptoms. This stems from an abdominal response by the body’s immune system. You may know the immune system is a large system that is present throughout the body. It’s made up of various cells and proteins. In a normal system, the immune system works to protect the body from infection. For those who struggle with this disease, on the other hand, the immune system seems to be reacting in the wrong manner. Researchers believe that the immune system mistakes microbes such as the bacteria located in the intestines (normal bacteria necessary for proper digestion) to be foreign substances. It attacks it instead of allowing the bacteria to remain present.
When this happens, the body’s white blood cells get to work and line the walls of the intestines and then produce inflammation. Over time, the white blood cells develop harmful products in response to the bacteria. However, this will ultimately cause ulcerations and bowel injury to you. This is when you may develop symptoms of IBD.
In most people, this condition affects the small intestine and the very beginning portion of the large intestine. However, it can also occur in other areas of the GI tract. For those who have ulcerative colitis, comparatively, the condition impacts only the colon. For those with Crohn’s disease specifically, all components of the intestine are involved in the inflammation. It is common for normal, healthy bowel areas to be present alongside diseased bowel. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, only impacts the superficial layers of the colon, called the mucosa. This condition has a more even level of distribution throughout the body and generally starts at the anus.