Thursday, December 27, 2007

Crohn's Disease Cure - Know Your Treatment

The number of people waiting for a Crohn's disease cure seems to be growing each year. This debilitating condition can cause a number of symptoms that range from diarrhea and cramps to fistulas and bleeding. While researchers continue to work to find a cure, it's important to know what kind of treatment is available.

The reason why there is no Crohn's disease cure yet is because scientists haven't been able to pinpoint its cause or triggers. The condition seems to be most prevalent in the cities, particularly in western countries. The most popular theory is that something environmental triggers the attacks but speculation is high as to whether it is a virus, allergen or bacteria. What makes the disease even harder to assess is the fact that it affects each person differently. Some people just get a few flare-ups once in a while. For others, the disease can change their entire life.

In the absence of a Crohn's disease cure, it is important that patients take the right kind of treatment, depending on the severity of their attacks. This usually involves a combination of dietary changes and medication. The primary objective of these treatments is to treat the symptoms and to ensure that the patient is in remission for as long as possible. This is the only way until a Crohn's disease cure is found.

Since there is no Crohn's disease cure, people who suffer from this condition need to meet with a doctor to find out which course of treatment will suit them best. First the doctor will prescribe traditional medication to deal with the diarrhea and cramps. If your symptoms are mild, your doctor will probably give you Loperamide or Sulfasalazine.

If these don't help alleviate the symptoms, your doctor will probably start you on something a little stronger. If fistulas have formed you will be put on a course of antibiotics. Unfortunately, studies have shown that 50% of fistulas return after the course of antibiotics is stopped.

The stronger medications often come with side effects- corticosteroids, for example are orally administered to deal with inflammation. However they have been known to cause osteoporosis, infections and high blood pressure. Budesonide does not have any immediate side effects though it could have effects in the long run. For this reason, doctors will not keep you on Budesonide for very long.

If these medicines don't have any affect on your symptoms, then your doctor will give you a tumor necrosis factor antagonist. This is usually something like Infliximab. Adalimumab is used for people who react adversely to Infliximab. In severe cases, these will be given via injection or intravenously. Patients will have to meet with their doctor every six months and take lab tests every two months. During very bad flare-ups, patients are usually hospitalized and given supplemental nutrition intravenously.

In some cases, even the strongest medication won't work and surgery is the only option. The damaged part of the digestive tract is removed and while this does bring some relief, the disease tends to flare up in other areas. This can be discouraging to hear but the good news is that new medical breakthroughs are being made even today. It won't be long before there is a Crohn's disease cure.

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1 comment:

Healthy Lifestyles said...

Great info!