Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive tract that progresses with flares and is one of the so-called inflammatory bowel diseases. The inflammation can affect different areas of the digestive tract depending on the individual. Its cause is unknown, although it is believed to be due to a combination of environmental, immune and genetic factors. Its overall prevalence is estimated at 0.4%.

The exact causes of Crohn's disease and its triggers are unknown. Research shows that it may result from a combination of environmental, immune and microbiological factors in genetically susceptible individuals. Important risk factors include:

  • Age: CD can develop at any age, but it usually begins during youth. Most people develop it before the age of 30.
  • Ethnicity: it is more common in people of Caucasian and Ashkenazi Jewish descent, although it can affect people of any ethnicity.
  • Smoking is the most important controllable risk factor associated with CD. In addition, smoking is also associated with a more severe form of the disease.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They can cause inflammation of the intestine, which can worsen the disease.
  • High-fat diet, which may increase the risk of the disease.

Symptoms

Crohn's disease usually has active periods (flares) with alternating asymptomatic phases, although in some people there are ongoing symptoms despite treatment. These symptoms vary depending on the area of the intestine affected, but usually include the following:

  • Diarrhea of more than 6 weeks evolution, in many cases, with blood.
  • Abdominal pain and weight loss.
  • Fatigue and general malaise.
  • Joint pain.
  • Development of perianal fistulas.
  • Inflammation of other regions such as skin, joints or liver.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Anemia.
  • Stunted growth, when initiated in children.

Some research suggests that stress may worsen or even trigger the onset of symptoms. In addition, in some people, certain foods may also worsen symptoms.

Prevention

Preventing the development of Crohn's disease is not possible because the exact causes of its onset are not known, although it is possible to act against certain risk factors that influence its development and aggravate the pathology, such as smoking. It has been proven that smoking increases the risk of developing this disorder, also increasing the risk of complications in those who suffer from the disease.

In patients diagnosed with CD, there are therapies that can help to significantly reduce their signs and symptoms and can even achieve some remission of the disease. In addition to the pharmacological and surgical treatments available, there are actions that can help prevent a flare-up or reduce symptoms:

  • Avoid carbonated beverages.
  • Avoid high-fiber foods.
  • Drink more fluids.
  • Eat smaller amounts of food more frequently.
  • Keep a food diary to help identify foods that may cause problems.

Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of risk loci

104 loci

Genes analyzed

ADCY3 ADO APEH APOBR ATG16L1 BACH2 BRD7 C1orf141 CAMK2G CARD9 CCL2 CD244 CDH13 CDKAL1 CEP43 CHSY3 CIITA CREM CYLD DENND1B DNAJC27 DUSP5 ERAP2 FOSL2 FUT2 GALC GCKR GPX4 ICAM3 ICOSLG IFNGR2 IKZF1 IL10 IL12B IL18RAP IL21 IL23R IL2RA INAVA IRGM ITGA4 JAK2 KSR1 LACC1 LNPEP LRRC32 LRRK2 MAP3K8 MMP9 MUC19 MYC NCF4 NDFIP1 NKD1 NKX2-3 NOD2 PDGFB PDK1 PLCL1 PLEKHH2 PPIF PRDM1 PTGER4 PTPN2 PTPN22 PUS10 RBPJ RFT1 RIMBP3C RMI2 RPH3A RSPO3 RUSC1 SCNN1A SH2D4B SLAMF8 SLC22A5 SLC39A8 SLC7A10 SMAD3 SNX20 SOX4 SP110 SP140 SPATC1 STAT3 STK11 TAGAP TNFRSF6B TNFSF15 TNFSF18 TPRG1 TRIB1 TYK2 USP25 ZBTB38 ZEB2 ZFP36L1 ZPBP2

Bibliography

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