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Crohn's Disease: Home

This guide will provide resources on Crohn's disease.

What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn’s is a disease that primarily affects the digestive system. According to the National Library of Medicine (NIH), Crohn’s “involves an abnormal immune response that causes excess inflammation. It most often affects the intestinal walls, particularly in the lower part of the small intestine and portions of the large intestine.”

Inflammation can occur in any part of the digestive system, which can cause ulcers. Individuals with Crohn’s disease often experience: 

  • Intense abdominal pain and cramping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea 
  • Chronic bleeding and inflammation in the joints, eyes, or skin.

Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Who is Affected by Crohn's disease?

  • Most people who develop Crohn's disease are diagnosed in their late teens or twenties
  • Most common in western Europe and North America
  • More than half a million Americans have Crohn's disease
  • Crohn's disease is thought to be largely genetic, although some environmental factors have been associated with its development
  • IBD, which includes both Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, has been diagnosed in 3 million individuals, or 1.3% of U.S. adults
  • Women and non-Hispanic whites are most likely to report IBD. 

Statistics from National Library of Medicine and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Note on Diagnosing Crohn's

IBDs are generally diagnosed using an endoscopy, colonoscopy, radiologic and blood or stool tests. For Crohn's disease specifically, there is no single test that can confirm Crohn's. Crohn's symptoms are often similar to other conditions like bacterial infections. Healthcare providers will use medical history and diagnostic testing to exclude potential causes of symptoms before diagnosing Crohn's. The process can often take some time. 

For more information regarding diagnosing testing, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation and National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases provide detailed descriptions of the diagnosis process. 

JJ Pionke

Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library

Contact: 

JJ Pionke
Applied Health Sciences Librarian
pionke@illinois.edu
217-265-0002

Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library

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