Crohn’s disease is still a challenge to diagnose and treat.
Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that can create issues in the small intestine and, less frequently, in the large intestine. It is often painful and can lead to life-threatening consequences. While most symptoms are gastrointestinal in nature, it can also be linked to inflammation in the skin, eyes, joints, liver, or bile ducts. Inflammatory responses suggest that a virus or bacteria may prompt an immune response among some people that triggers the onset of Crohn’s disease, and hereditary traits are also thought to be involved. Most people are diagnosed before they turn 30, and white people tend to have more cases of Crohn’s than other ethnicities. Living in urban areas or industrialized countries also seems to be linked to Crohn’s disease, which may point toward additional environmental factors.
Clinicians have come a long way in diagnosing and treating this disease since 1984, when Michael Weiss was first diagnosed. Yet this prolific and severe illness has no known cause or cure.
In this first segment looking into the experience of patients living with chronic and complicated diseases, Michael speaks about his life with Crohn’s (and related complications such as peripheral neuropathy and erythromelalgia) and how he’s learned to cope with the help of other patients.
Michael is the author of Confessions of a Professional Hospital Patient.