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Introduction & Overview
Crohns Disease, also called regional enteritis, is a chronic, episodic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affecting any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus, with varying symptoms between affected individuals. In most cases, it affects the duodenum and ilieum of the small intestine, and colon (which is a part of the large intestine).
However, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the pattern of inheritance is not known.(11)
Dietary and infection causing factors are no longer thought to be a contributing cause and are looked upon now as variables which aggravate the disease which is already present in the GI tract. Many researchers and doctors point to Crohn's Disease as being an autoimmune disease with the immune system contributing to the damage of digestive tract due to inflammation. Most of the cytokines in the Th1 classification such as TNF-a, interleukin-2 and interferon ? are active in causing inflammation. (1)
Crohns disease is not curable with any known medical or surgical methods. Medical treatments such as steroid medications, immunomodulators like azathioprine and methotrexate and newer biological medications such as infliximab are administered with the goal of keeping the disease in remission.
In the United States, approximately 500,000 people have Crohn's Disease which affects mostly women, whites, and people of Jewish descent. In Northern Europe, the statistics for Crohn's Disease are approximately 27 to 48 people per 100,000.
Although the disease can strike at any age, people 15 to 35 and seniors in their 60s to 70s are more susceptible. Crohn's disease is named after Burrill Bernard Crohn, an American gastroenterologist. (1)
Article by Kona Vishnu, MS
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