Crohn's disease is a chronic condition that can affect any part of the digestive tract but most commonly occurs in the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine. Researchers estimate that more than 500,000 Americans have Crohn's disease. Although experts cannot explain why, the condition is more prevalent in the United States than in other parts of the world.
In 50 percent of patients, Crohn's disease affects the terminal ileum — the last part of the small intestine — and the colon. Thirty percent of people with Crohn's disease have it only in the bowel, and, for 20 percent of people, it is confined to the terminal ileum.
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