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Crohn’s disease (CD) is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. Inflammation can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the back passage, but most commonly occurs in the last section of the small intestine (ileum) or the large intestine (colon).
Common symptoms can include:
The incidence of CD is increasing especially in young children and infants posing an increasing burden on society. CD is more common in northwestern countries where the incidence ranges between 1 and 10/100,000, and a prevalence of approximately 1-0.5/1,000. Both men and women can have Crohn's disease. Crohn's disease is usually diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 - 30.
There is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease so the aims of treatment are to stop the inflammatory process, relieve symptoms and avoid surgery wherever possible. The first treatment offered to reduce symptoms is usually steroid medication (corticosteroids). Medication to suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants) and medication to reduce inflammation may be used. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove the inflamed section of intestine.