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What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease, IBD for short, that causes persistent or recurring inflammation of one or more parts of the intestine. Crohn's disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal system, from the mouth to the anus. The disease was named after Dr. Burrill Crohn, who was one of the first to describe the disease in medical literature.

There is no known cure for Crohn's disease. Even though this disease is common, it has not been talked about until recently. The causes are unknown and is not due to stress as was once thought.

Inflammatory bowel disease can occur at any age, but usually begins in the late teens or early adulthood. It is sometimes associated with medical problems outside of the intestine, including arthritis, cancer, gallstones, kidney stones, and skin conditions.

Other associated names are ileitis and enteritis.

What is Inflamed by Crohn's Disease?

Inflamed Crohn's disease affects the bowel wall from the inner to the outer lining, including muscle layers inbetween. Not only does the bowel wall become inflamed, but the disease also causes swelling of the mesentery, a fan-shaped piece of tissue connecting the small intestine to the back wall of the abdomen (the mesentery contains the main intestinal blood vessels and lymph glands).

Where does Crohn's Disease Occur?

Crohn's disease can affect any area from the mouth to the anus. About 45 percent of people diagnosed have Crohn's disease affecting the end of the ileum and the beginning of the colon. About 35 percent have it occur just in the end of the ileum. About 20 percent have the disease just in the colon. In a few patients, the disease affects the jejunum, duodenum, stomach, or esophagus. When Crohn's affects the mouth, there is almost always an associated occurrence elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract.

See related articles:
Crohn's Disease Symptoms
Signs of Crohn's Disease
Crohn's Disease Diets
Crohn's Disease Treatments

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