Gastrointestinal (GI) issues affected 60-70 million Americans in 2012, according the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institute of Health (NIH). Among the most common digestive diseases, there is one that is gaining more exposure due to its increasing prevalence in hospitals and doctor’s offices – Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease can affect various parts of the GI tract and is not limited to just the large intestine. Symptoms may vary from patient to patient but can include: persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, urgent need to move bowels, abdominal cramps and pain, sensation of incomplete evacuation, and constipation (which can lead to bowel obstruction). Other symptoms that could also be associated with IBD include fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, and loss of normal menstrual cycle. Since Crohn’s disease involves the immune system, people may experience symptoms outside of the digestive tract since such as joint pain, eye problems, skin rash, or liver disease.
Crohn’s disease has been the reason for 1.1 million ambulatory care visits across the nation. Dr. Asit Mehta, GI Doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, states “In order to properly diagnose a patient with Crohn’s disease, doctors must evaluate a combination of the patient’s history, exams and results and begin to eliminate other potential causes of these uncomfortable symptoms. This process can take some time.” Aside from an initial physical, tests can range from blood and stool tests to endoscopies, biopsies and intestinal imaging. Dr. Mehta further states, “Once a proper diagnosis is provided, there are treatment options and medications that can help someone with Crohn’s disease enjoy a more comfortable and convenient lifestyle.”
If you believe you are suffering from Crohn’s Disease, contact your physician or make an appointment with Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001.
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