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10 Things Everyone Should Know About Crohn’s Disease

Crohns-Awareness

#1.  Crohn’s Disease affects 1 in 200 people in the United States. – That’s way more than I thought… Look at me, I’m learning stuff already.
#2.  It’s a genetic disorder related to chromosomes 5 & 10. 1 in 5 Crohn’s Disease patients has a family member who is also affected. My Dad was diagnosed 12 years after me. How crazy is that? But ‘they’ – being the scientists and experts that know all the good stuff (except for a cure) – believe other factors also play a role, such as environment, diet, and bacteria.
#3.  It’s an Autoimmune Disorder, which means the immune systems reacts abnormally to tissues and substances that are typically found in the body. So basically, the immune system is in there just working itself up into a frenzy and beating the crap out of itself, causing all kinds of inflammation. This is why immuno-suppressants are used to manage the inflammation… and why we’re getting sick all the time. We’re literally taking medication to suppress our immune system.
#4.  Prior to the new healthcare laws, Crohn’s Disease was on the automatic denial list for coverage. I have never been approved for private insurance until now. My only option was group coverage, like through an employer… which is like the worst kind of Catch 22, since holding down a job has always been difficult for me. I’m sick way too often for any boss to like me.
#5.  A common side effect of Crohn’s Disease is called malabsorption. This occurs when chronic inflammation causes damage to the small intestines and reduces the ability to absorb the important nutrients from food. Also – just an FYI, Crohn’s patients don’t seem to love jokes about how you wish you had it, so you could stay skinny. :o) I’m just sayin’… if that thought’s ever crossed your mind, stick around for a while and I’ll cure you of it in a right quick hurry. <— That’s a real thing. A “right quick hurry”
#6.  Crohn’s Disease has officially been added to the Social Security Administration’s list of “Disabilities.” Which is a blessing to many Crohn’s patients who struggle to hold down regular jobs, however doesn’t help out the stigmas already associated with the disease.
#7.  It’s known as the “Invisible Disease” because more often than not, Crohn’s Disease patients look completely fine and normal, though they are suffering symptoms such as: abdominal pain and cramping, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, urgent need to use the restroom, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, night sweats and bloating. (I’ll bet the next time you’re sitting on the toilet, having a nice normal “#2″, you realize you’re just a bit more grateful than you thought for the simple things in life.) :o)  Also, just a little personal note here: The symptom that landed me in the hospital both times that I had a major flare, was a very high fever. Not stomach pain. In my body, the unnaturally high fever seems to be the big red flag that something is wrong before the other symptoms get really bad.
#8.  There is currently no cure for Crohn’s Disease. Sucky.
#9.  There are many stigmas associated with Crohn’s Disease, which I figure is mostly due to the fact that a lot of the symptoms are related to poop. (Yeah. I just said that… out loud, right here on the internet.) That’s just embarrassing, and hard to talk about. And I’d love to talk more about these stigmas…but it’s getting late. Plus, I want to think more about it and do a separate post. (…and THAT my friends, is what we call a “teaser.”) In any case, most stigmas related to this disease are due to misinformation and could be eradicated with some awareness and education.
Let’s work on that shall we? Help me get some basic info out to the masses. Go ahead and give this post a “Share” for me and let’s spread the word. In the meantime – comment below if you read something here that you didn’t know before. I HAVE Crohn’s Disease and still learned a thing or two. :o)
#10.  I couldn’t think of 10 things… but it is midnight, so I feel like I have an excuse. So really it’s just 9 things you need to know.

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