Crohn's disease is a sub-category of inflammatory bowel disease or IBD. The condition causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which in turn can cause abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and, in some cases, malnutrition. Crohn's disease is painful and debilitating and can become life-threatening. The inflammation caused by Crohn's disease often spreads deep into the layers of bowel tissue. This inflammation can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people. The most common areas where people are affected are the last segment of the small intestine and the colon. Signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease range from mild to severe with the symptoms developing gradually.
Doctors are still uncertain about why people develop Crohn's disease. It was first suspected stress and diet caused the condition, but most doctors now believe these factors only aggravate symptoms. Recent research shows genetics and a less-efficient immune system may be the source of the disease. When the immune system does not function properly, it may have an abnormal response to microorganisms that assault the digestive tract. The immune system can over-react, attacking both these microorganisms and the good cells in the digestive tract. While there's no known cure for Crohn's disease, certain therapies can greatly reduce the signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission.
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