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Inflammatory bowel disease - Crohn's disease
The outlook for Crohn's disease varies widely. Crohn's disease can range from being benign (such as when limited Crohn's disease occurs only around the anus in older people) or it can be very severe. At the extreme end, some patients may experience only one episode and others suffer continuously. About 13 - 20% of patients experience chronic Crohnâ ' s disease.
Although recurrences tend to be the norm, disease-free periods can last for years or decades in some patients. Although Crohn's disease cannot be cured even with surgery, treatments are now available that can offer significant help to most patients. Crohn's disease is rarely a direct cause of death, and most people can live a normal lifespan with this condition.
Mild Crohn's Disease. The fewer the number of bowel movements, the milder the disease. In mild disease, abdominal pain is absent or minimal. The patient has a sense of well-being that is normal or close to normal. There are few, if any, complications outside the intestinal tract. The doctor does not detect any mass when pressing the abdomen. The red blood cell count is normal or close to normal, and the patient is not underweight. There are no fistulas, abscesses, or other chronic changes.
Severe Crohn's Disease. In severe Crohn's disease, the patient has bowel movements frequent enough to need potent anti-diarrhea medication. Abdominal pain is severe and usually located in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. (The location of the pain might not indicate the site of the actual problem, a phenomenon known as referred pain.) The red blood cell count is low. The patient has a poor sense of well-being and experiences complications that may include weight loss, joint pain, inflammation in the eyes, reddened or ulcerated skin, fistulas, abscesses, and fever. The surgical and medical treatments of Crohn's disease, as with ulcerative colitis, have complications of their own that can be severe.
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