Crohns Disease Causes

Written by Jacey Harmon
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Crohn's disease is a chronic disorder which causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal or digestive tract. Also known as ileitis or enteritis, Crohn's disease got its name from the doctor who first reported on it in 1932, Dr. Burrill B. Crohn. Crohn's disease, together with ulcerative colitis, makes up the largest contingency in a family of illnesses called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Crohn's Disease Causes

Despite the progress in researching Crohn's disease, there is no known "cause" of the disorder. There are several theories which speculate about the causes Crohn's disease but none have been definitively proven. Studies have shown, however, that there are several factors which may play a role in contracting Crohn's disease. Heredity is a leading factor when determining the cause of Crohn's disease. Studies have shown a high occurrence of the disease in blood relatives, causing researchers to believe heredity is a major player in contracting the disease. In fact studies have shown if you have a blood relative with Crohn's disease, your chance of contracting the disorder is 10 time higher than the general population. If that relative is a brother or sister, your chance is 30 times higher than the general population.

Some researchers consider abnormal immune system responses to infection a cause for Crohn's disease. Researchers theorize the disease is the result of an unusual immunological response to an otherwise harmless organism. Others theorize the disease is started from bacteria in the gut that release poisons which attack intestinal walls. Whatever the cause, there is no evidence the disease is contagious.

Even though there is no commonly accepted cause of Crohn's disease, there are steps which will reduce flare-ups of the disease. Though it is not proven, researchers believe a low stress level will help reduce flare-ups of the symptoms. Monitoring your diet will also aid in reducing some effects of the disease. Some patients have found avoiding certain foods will reduce the discomfort. It seems each patient is different in what exactly causes discomfort but some foods--wheat, yeast, and milk-have been common agitators.

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