Science as a subject is an extremely intiguing one for the simple reason that there is no end to new discoveries. Being a broad field of study, it can be narrowed down to its 3 main subfields; biology, physics and chemistry. Each of these subjects continue to amaze scientists across the globe.
As much as people like to believe that a point of complete understanding about the human body, its functions and diseases has been reached, there are still a number of functions and diseases that are yet to be known. Of the diseases that have been discovered, only a few are well known.
Inflammatory bowel diseases are often confused with irritable bowel syndrome and fall under the category of diseases that are not very well known to people. These diseases generally affect the digestive tract of the human body and can be broadly classified into two types: Crohn’s and colitis disease.
1. What are they?
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease affecting the intestines, the colon and ileum. It is characterized by ulcers and fistulae.
Colitis is an inflammation of the inner lining of colon.
2. Where do they occur?
Colitis is generally limited to the colon. Crohn’s disease however may affect any part of the digestive system from the anus to the mouth.
3. Features of the diseases.
Crohn’s disease: Characterized by hyperplasia of the adipose tissue resulting in creeping fat. It may also contain healthy parts of the intestine in between inflamed area.
Colitis disease: Erosions and ulcers may be noticed on the affected area. There is a continuous inflammation of the colon.
4. Why do the diseases occur?
Crohn’s disease: While the exact reasons for the occurrence of the disease is unknown, there have been various reasons put forward by biologists. Some of the possible reasons for their occurrence include: Genetics, Environment, Mucosal immune response and epithelial damage.
Colitis disease: There are two postulations to the occurrence of colitis disease. The first one is the unnatural immune response of the body to gut luminal antigen. The other widely accepted hypothesis suggests that’s the antibodies produced against bacteria in the guts propagate the immune response of the body to the severe secondary stages.
5. Clinical appearances when affected by the diseases.
Crohn’s disease: Affected patients appear thin and malnourished due to lesser absorption of nutrients. Diarrhea may occur along with blood.
Colitis disease: Clinical appearance when affected by colitis disease is similar to that of crohn’s disease. Affected patients appear thin and malnourished. They may suffer from diarrhea that may or may not be bloody.
6. Signs and symptoms of the diseases.
Symptoms common to both diseases: Abdominal pain, Diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
Crohn’s disease: Crohn’s disease may result in rectal bleeding. The rectal bleeding is however more common in colitis disease than crohn’s disease.
7. Diagnosing the diseases.
Diagnosis for both diseases is carried out by colonoscopy. Additionally, for colitis disease multiple laboratory tests and stool examinations may also be carried out.
8. Complications due to the diseases.
Crohn’s disease: A major complication in patients affected by this disease results due to smoking. Smoking can worsen the condition of the disease. It also increases the risk of surgery.
Colitis disease: Smoking has no direct impact on worsening the condition of the disease.
9. Treating the diseases.
There are a number of ways to treat crohn’s and colitis disease.
Medicines may be administered to suppress the aberrant inflammatory response of the immune system. Combination therapy may also be used to treat the diseases. Changing your diet can sometimes be the best way to treat the diseases. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
10. Preventing the occurrence of the diseases.
Crohn’s and colitis can be prevented by managing diet and good health and by avoiding foods that can trigger the diseases.