The ABC’s of Crohn’s Disease & UC: “A”
Weeks ago, I had an idea to come up with the ABC’s of Crohn’s Disease & UC. This has turned into a HUGE task- coming up with things that are related to the two diseases with every letter of the alphabet. But at the same time, I’ve learned a lot more about the diseases than before by researching the two diseases and the various symptoms, medications, complications, and other things related to IBD.
That being said, here is installment number one: the letter A.
Abdomen: This is an obvious one. Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis is a disease located in your abdomen. So there’s an easy first one.
Abscess: A common complication of Crohn’s Disease and UC, abscesses are pus-filled pockets that sometimes form in the anus (another A!) and in the intestines.
Acupuncture: Some people use this as a holistic treatment for Crohn’s Disease and UC. Acupuncturists treat people with Crohn’s and UC based on individual assessments of the excesses and deficiencies of qi located in various meridians. It involves sticking tiny needles in various points on the body. Not my cup of tea, but it has been proven helpful in some cases of Crohn’s and UC.
Adalimumab: More commonly known as Humira, adalimumab is a TNF inhibitor that is used to treat moderate to severe cases of Crohn’s and UC (as well as rheumatoid arthritis). It is given as an injection and has been shown to be effective in reducing signs and symptoms of the diseases.
Age: Crohn’s Disease and UC most frequently appears in patients under the age of 30. Crohn’s is commonly shows up in people in their twenties, but can appear early and later in life. UC develops typically before 30 but can develop at any point in your life, even as late as in your 50’s or 60’s.
Allergies: Patients with Crohn’s and UC can form allergies to certain medications, like Remicade and Humira, either when first taking it or after being on it for a long period of time. Patients can also become allergic or intolerant to some foods when they have Crohn’s or UC (ex: lactose intolerance).
Anemia: This condition where you have too few red blood cells can develop in people with Crohn’s Disease and UC due to low iron levels caused by bloody stools or inflammation. Depending on your blood cell count, some doctors may recommend that patients with Crohn’s and UC take iron supplements.
Antibiotics: This is another easy one- Crohn’s and UC patients take a lot of antibiotics to treat the illness throughout their life. Antibiotics may be used to treat a perforation, C.diff, and other infections that may occur.
Anti-inflammatory: Another given- being that Crohn’s and UC causes inflammation of the intestines, anti-inflammatories are often prescribed to control the inflammation and help treat the diseases.
Arthritis: This is the most common complication of Crohn’s and UC. In fact, as many as 25 percent of Crohn’s and UC patients will develop arthritis at some point. In IBD, arthritis commonly strikes younger patients in three forms: peripheral (large joints in arms and legs), axial (lower spine and sacroiliac joints), and ankylosing spondylitis. The latter is the rarest kind, causing not only pain in the spine and lower back joints but also inflammation of the eyes, lungs, and heart valves.
Asacol: A common medication used to treat Crohn’s Disease and UC. It is an anti-inflammatory medication that works locally in the gut to treat the disease.
Ass: I included this one mainly for my husband’s amusement. I don’t think I really need to say anything about it.
Autoimmune: Crohn’s Disease and UC are considered autoimmune diseases. In the case of IBD, the body thinks that parts of its intestines are pathogens and begins attacking it.
Azulfidine: Also known as Sulfasalazine, Azulfidine is a sulfa drug used to treat inflammation, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and abdominal pain in Crohn’s and UC.
If you have any additions to the list, please let me know! I’d love to keep growing it.