Crohn’s disease (CD) is an inflammatory bowel disease that mainly affects the colon and small intestines. As the name implies, it causes inflammation in the digestive tract. This inflammation can lead to weight loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, and malnutrition. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different! So, any inflammation that CD causes can affect people in different areas of the digestive tract.
Causes of Crohn’s Disease
While the exact cause of Crohn’s is currently unknown, there are a few ideas as to why it occurs. Before, doctors suspected that a person’s diet and stress were the issues. However, they now know that these two factors only irritate, but do not directly cause, CD. Doctors now suspect a number of other factors that may play a role in Crohn’s development.
Some of these factors include:
- Immune System – It may be possible that certain bacteria or a virus can trigger CD. Whenever the immune system attempts to fight off any invading microorganisms, there’s an abnormal response where the immune system attacks the cells within the digestive tract as well.
- Heredity – Doctors have proven that Crohn’s is more common in people when they have a family history of it. It’s believed that genes could play a role in making people more susceptible.
- Ethnicity – Crohn’s disease can affect people regardless of their ethnicity. However, Caucasian and Eastern European Jewish people have the highest risk for it. In addition, studies show that the risk is increasing among black people who live in the United Kingdom and North America.
- Age – CD can happen regardless of a person’s age. However, a majority of people end up developing this condition at a younger age. Most of these people are diagnosed with it before or around 30.
- Smoking – Smoking cigarettes is the most controllable risk factor. People who smoke are at risk for this and more severe diseases, as well as at a higher risk of needing surgery.
Treatment Options for Crohn’s Disease
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Crohn’s. However, there are many ways to effectively treat Crohn’s disease. The purpose of medical treatment is to reduce any inflammation that may trigger or worsen the symptoms.
Prescription medication is a common treatment method. Some of these medications include:
Cimizia – This medication is injected underneath a person’s skin to prevent any inflammation caused by an overactive immune system. The price of Cimizia can range from around the average price of $4,000 to almost $5,000 without insurance coverage.
Tysabri – After being verified by the FDA, the drug Tysabri, which is used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), can also be used to help people cope with Crohn’s disease. Like Cimizia, this drug is also inserted into the veins. Tysabri costs approximately $5,630.
ENTYVIO – This medication that is used to solely treat inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s. It belongs to a group of medications that are known as monoclonal antibodies. It is injected into the bloodstream in order for it to work. An infusion costs about $5,782.
These prices can seem overwhelming at first. However, several payment options are available, and those with health insurance likely will not have to pay the full amount.
If caught early, Crohn’s disease is treatable. Those who feel any kind of abdominal pain should not shrug it off. Instead, it is best to call a doctor and schedule an appointment to make sure these symptoms aren’t the beginning stages of CD.
Disclaimer: This article should not replace nor substitute advice from a licensed medical professional.