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Crohn's Disease

**************************************************************************** Many thanks to the one who emailed this information to me! This information was found in MOSBY'S DICTIONARY Medical, Nursing, and Allied Health - 4th edition. Copyright@ 1994 by Mosby - Year Book Inc Boston. ****************************************************************************

Crohn's Disease was named after Burrill B. Crohn, an American physician in 1884. It is a chronic inflamatory bowel disease of unknown origin, usually affecting the Ileum, the Colon or both structures. Diseased segments may be separated by normal bowel segments. It is characterized by frequent attacks of diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, nausea, fever, chills, weakness, anorexia, and weight loss. Children with the disease often suffer retarded physical growth.

The diagnosis of Crohn's disease is based on clinical signs, x-ray studies using a contrast medium, and endoscopy. The disease is easily confused with ulcerative colitis, which is also an inflammatory bowel disease affecting the colon and rectum.

Corticosteroids, antibiotics, and antiinflamatory agents are used to control symptoms and to attempt to induce remission. In patients who are malnourished because of the disease, intravenous hyperalimentation is used to ensure adequate intake of nutrients and to rest the bowel. Surgical removal of the diseased segment of the bowel provides some relief, but recurrence after surgery is likely. In many cases, the inglammation extends to other areas of the bowel or to the stomach, duodenum, or mouth. Other complications are arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, kidney and liver disease, and skin and eye disorders. The formulation of fistulas from the diseased bowel to the anus, vagina, skin surface, or to other loops of the bowel are common. Persons with Crohn's disease are hospitalized frequently and often become depressed because of the relentless, painful character of the disease. Continued support and encouragement are essential in helping the patient maintain a hopeful outlook.

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