CAUSES OF CROHNS DISEASE
It affects relationship and working life. It is even more disabling to young women because of its potential ability to interfer with child bearing ability.
Scientists are still investigating the causes of crohns disease. What makes the 75,000 - 100,000 individuals that suffers with crohns in the UK for example, to come up with this disease?
Doctors do not know for sure what causes Crohn’s disease. It is however thought to be due to some form of infection that triggers the body’s own immune system against the walls of the gut.
This can be likened to a soldier suddenly cannot recognise and differentiate enemy soldiers from his own group. He then turns around and fire to kill ANY soldier he sees.
The immune system is made up of cells and proteins that patrol the whole of the body to identify arrest and when necessary, destroy any invading foreign organism or protein.
Some of these invading protein and cells look very much like the body’s own cells in their fine constituents.
If this happens, and the invading protein or cell looks like that in the gut, an immune reaction occurs, leading to the body’s own defences killing the gut cells. Sometimes, the invading organism or protein may not even be like the body’s own cells, but are able to “brain wash” the body’s immune system to think that the gut cells are enemy cells.
What a terrible thing!
Curiously, cow milk has been implicated in the list of causes of Crohns disease. There is however no definite proof of this association.
It is thought that cells that trigger the development of Crohns disease include certain bacteria like the tuberculosis bacteria, mycobacterium avium, subspecie Paratuberculosis. It is thought to be responsible for up to 60 % of the cases of crohns disease.
Some think the figure is even higher. 55 % of cattle in the United States and Europe are infected with this organism, and it is thought that the organism easily infect milk, and can survive the pasteurization process and interact with the gut wall, thus becoming one of the causes of Crohns disease.
A work in this regard was done by Professor Hermon-Taylor, where he found live tuberculosis bacteria in 7 % of milk tested, reported by the Lord Greenway to House of Lords in the UK in summer of 2000. There is however no conclusive evidence. Others think the bacteria causing Crohns is from the natural flora of bacteria in our gut.
Infection is certainly only one of the causes of crohns disease, otherwise families including spouse or fiends who live together will all come up with the disease. It is very rarely seen in couples, as they are obviously not genetically related.
A wide variety of food substances have been pinned down as been amongst the most common causes of chrons disease.
It may be that these food substances contain proteins that can cause the reaction in someone who is already predisposed to having the problem. It may also be that the gut can not handle such diet because of the disease, thus, worsening symptoms.
Such food substances are mainly low residue diet, and diet rich in highly refined sugar
Cigarette smoking has also been thought to be one of the causes of Crohn dsease.
Most patients with Crohns disease smoke. It is clearly documented that smoking increases the chances of developing Crohns disease at least by threefold. This is thus one of the irrefutable causes of crohns disease.
One in ten patients with Crohns also has a first degree relative with the disease, strengthening the finding that the disease has genetic connection.
This connection can be explained by the discovery of a gene called NOD2. It was demonstrated that this gene help in determining the way bacteria is handled by the body.
Could NOD2 gene hold the answer to the causes of crohns disease?
In individuals with Crohn’s, some have a defect in this gene. A variant of the gene is anti-saccharomyces cerevisiea antibodies (ASCA) producing gene.
Patient with this genetic defects usually have what doctors called fibrostenosing form of Crohns. This means they quickly form very narrow and blocked bowel complications that will require surgery to remove that bit.
In summary, the causes of Crohns disease are not known. Crohns is clearly caused by a combination of factors ranging from possible infective agents, foods, and environmental stress in those already predisposed to the disease.
Avoidance of unnecessary stress, good dietary habits, avoiding cigarettes are smart ways of reducing the the effect of the disease or actually avoiding the likelihood of coming down with this debilitating disease.
The immune attack on the intestine would lead to ulcer forming in the wall of the intestine. These ulcers may heal to form scars, and with another episode of attack again, more ulcers are formed.
This makes the wall of the intestine become hard and thickened from repeated ulcer formation and healing scars.
It could then cause narrowing of the gut diameter. In some cases, it could actually cause blockade og the lumen of the gut. Rarely, there the gut could even perforate.
All these changes can occur any where through the whole length of the gut.
The same changes in the gut can occur to cells else where leading to formation of fistula or abnormal connection between two surfaces in the body, like between the large bowel and bladder or vagina and large bowel.
In such cases, the person may start passing flatus or and faeces via the penis or vagina respectively.
It is widely described to cause “skipped lesions” in the bowel. This means it may affect different part of the gut, leaving normal portions in between.
Crohns can cause
• skin changes,
• ankylosing spondylitis or arthritis affecting the spine and any other joint,
• eye problems
• liver problems
• SLE ( systemic lupus erythematosis)
• Destruction of the thyroid glandDietary causes of crohns disease can be avoided. Try this heathy food recipe...recommended by a nutritionist.
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