Crohn’s disease is an ongoing non-infectious condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract (also known as the gastrointestinal tract). It is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Crohn’s disease affects about one in every thousand people in the UK, and it is estimated that each year between 3,000 and 6,000 people will be diagnosed with it.
Inflammation can occur anywhere in the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. The part of the small intestine known as the ileum is the commonest site to be affected.
Other commonly affected areas include the colon and rectum as well as the back passage (anus) itself.
All of the layers of the intestine can be affected with healthy sections of the bowel being found inbetween sections of diseased bowel.
In chronic cases the inflammation can damage sections of the digestive system resulting in an additional complications of narrowing the gut or abscesses.
The actual cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. There is a higher chance of developing it if there is a close family blood relation who also suffers from the condition. It affects both men and women equally. It is more common in the Caucasian population than in people of black or Asian decent.
It is believed that the immune system is responsible for the inflammation that occurs in Crohn’s disease but what causes the abnormal immune response is not fully understood.
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