Care and Treatment of Crohn's Disease

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Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation, or swelling, and irritation of any part of the digestive tract, also called the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the end of the rectum (anus). The part most commonly affected is the end part of the small intestine, called the ileum.
The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. The movement of muscles in the GI tract, along with the release of hormones and enzymes, allows for the digestion of food. In Crohn’s disease, inflammation extends deep into the lining of the affected part of the GI tract. Swelling can cause pain and can make the intestine, also called the bowel, empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea. Chronic, or long-lasting, inflammation may produce scar tissue that builds up inside the intestine to create a stricture. A stricture is a narrowed passageway that can slow the movement of food through the intestine, causing pain or cramps.
The range and severity of Crohn’s symptoms varies depending on which part of the GI tract is affected. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and can come and go with periods of flare-ups.The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are abdominal pain, often in the lower right area, and diarrhea. Rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fever may also occur. Bleeding may be serious and persistent, leading to anemia, a condition in which red blood cells are fewer or smaller than normal, which means less oxygen is carried to the body’s cells. Other symptoms of Crohn’s are constipation, eye inflammation, joint pain, joint swelling, mouth ulcers, rectal bleeding, skin sores (ulcers), swollen gums, and fistulas. Fistula is an abnormal connection or passag...

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...ach procedure can run anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000. A Crohn’s patient has to see the gastroenterologist at least once or twice a year for a check-up, with more visits when Crohn’s symptoms are severe. Adding the costs of blood tests, over-the-counter medications, such as anti-diarrheal and pain medication such as Tylenol or Advil, and missed work because of treatments or debilitating Crohn’s symptoms. Moreover, the cost of hospitalization due to sever flare-ups can go up to $14000, not to mention the cost of surgeries such as intestines resections, that can range between $35000 and $45000. The actual cost per person varies widely based on the severity of the disease. The annual cost of medical care for a patient with Crohn’s disease is estimated at nearly $20,000, and even those with insurance will pay for part of that cost because of plan deductibles and co-pays.

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