Crohns disease is one of the two types of diseases that cause life-long (Chronic) inflammation of the Gut, called inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD); the other being ulcerative colitis (UC).
It can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the lips to the margins of the anus. It is nevertheless more commonly found affecting the small and large intestines, respectively called ileum and colon.
It is due to a disordered immune response. The exact causes of crohn's disease remains unknown.
It tends to run in families.
Crohns can occur at any age, but commonly found in early adult life.
Smoking and Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry also increases the likely hood of one coming up with this disease.
It should not be confused with irritable bowel syndrome, IBS.
IBS is a non- destructive, non- progressive disease of the bowel that affects the movement of the Gut, without any obvious physical abnormality seen.
Crohns disease on the other hand is a destructive disorder. The layers of the gut are progressively damaged.
This can cause a wide range of symptoms and signs, even mimicking other disease states like bowel cancer, ibs, celiac disease, and intestinal obstruction.
Giovanni Battista Morgagni (1682-1771) described crohn’s disease in the 16th century. It is named after Crohn’s, who discribed 14 cases of the disease in detail in 1932 along side Oppenheimer, a US nuclear physicist and Ginzburg an American clinical Professor of Surgery at the Berth Israel Hospital New York. It was after their publication that the disease started to be widely recognised world wide.
Also called regional ileitis, it is called Morbus crohns by the Germans.
Crohn’s disease is quite common in Northern Europe and America. In Britain alone, about 12,000 new cases are been reported yearly.
Over two million cases Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis exists in the United States.
Commonly, it is diagnosed in those between 17 and 45 years of age.