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You may remember awhile ago when I shared that my oldest son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. It has been a journey for both of us, as we continue to learn and adapt to the lifestyle changes needed to safeguard his health.
Chrohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), but do you know how devastating it can be for those who suffer from these incurable diseases? Could you imagine how difficult it can be around this time of the year when those with a chronic illness need to navigate busy holiday schedules and dining, get-togethers and Holiday travel? I can tell you from personal experience that it takes a lot of additional planning and preparation to ensure that the entire Holiday season goes off with minimal complications.
Here are five things that people with Crohn’s disease (like my son) and their caregivers (like myself) want you to know:
- Crohn’s disease is a chronic, progressive and destructive disease that can cause damage of the GI tract in the majority of patients.
- Symptoms of Crohn’s can include frequent or urgent diarrhea, abdominal pain and fatigue, and can range in severity and longevity.
- As many as 1 million people globally may be affected by this devastating disease for which there is no cure.
- Most Crohn’s disease patients are diagnosed before the age of 35, which can mean a lifetime of invasive procedures, drug therapy, and surgery. In fact, 70% of Crohn’s disease patients require surgical intervention, which can have significant financial and physical impacts on their lives.
- Once diagnosed, many patients undergo periodic, expensive and invasive endoscopic monitoring to evaluate their disease progression. In fact, pharmacologic treatment alone can cost as much as $100,000 a year.
It is becoming increasingly important for the IBD community to come together to raise awareness of these sometimes debilitating diseases. Awareness provides the opportunity for patients and doctors to help educate patients, family members, and loved ones about diagnosing, monitoring and managing an unpredictable disease like Crohn’s disease.,
There is also no better time for awareness than when people are preparing for the Holidays and are paying special attention to managing their symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease.
Leading IBD specialist Dr. Kara De Felice, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology at Louisiana State University School of Medicine, joined me to discuss the symptoms of IBD and innovative detection and monitoring options that are now available to help Crohn’s disease patients manage their health. She also shared some strategies for managing the disease during the holidays, helping those with IBD enjoy the season and all it has to offer.
Take a listen at our chat below.
 Cosnes et a. Long-term evolution of disease behavior of Crohn’s disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2002;8(4):244-250.
 Molodecky N, Soon, I et al. Increasing incidence and prevalence of the inflammatory bowel diseases with time, based on systematic review. Gastroenterology. 2012. 142(1):46-54.
 The Facts about Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Updated incidence and prevalence of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis in Olmstead County, MN
 Lewis, Robert, et al. Efficacy and Complications of Surgery for Crohn’s Disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010; 6(9):587-596.
 Liu Y, Wu EQ, Bensimon AG, et al. Cost per responder associated with biologic therapies for Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Adv Ther. 2012;29(7):620-634.
 Baert, F, Moortgat, L, et. Al. Mucosal healing predicts sustained clinical remission in patients with early-stage Crohn’s disease. Gastroenterol. 2010; 138(2):463.468.
 Aleez M, Lemann M, et al. Long term outcome of patients with active Crohn’s disease exhibiting extensive and deep ulcerations at colonoscopy. Am J Gastroenterol. 2001;97(4):947-953.