What is Crohn’s Disease?

Named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn, who first described the disease in 1932 along with colleagues Dr. Leon Ginzburg and Dr. Gordon D. Oppenheimer, Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.

When reading about inflammatory bowel diseases, it is important to know that Crohn’s disease is not the same thing as ulcerative colitis, another type of IBD. The symptoms of these two illnesses are quite similar, but the areas affected in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) are different.

Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon, but it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon, also called the large intestine.

Download an illustration of the GI Tract (.pdf)

Crohn’s disease can also affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall, while ulcerative colitis only involves the innermost lining of the colon. Finally, in Crohn’s disease, the inflammation of the intestine can “skip”– leaving normal areas in between patches of diseased intestine. In ulcerative colitis this does not occur.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract. While symptoms vary from patient to patient and some may be more common than others, the tell-tale symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

Symptoms related to inflammation of the GI tract:

  • Persistent Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Urgent need to move bowels
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation
  • Constipation (can lead to bowel obstruction)

General symptoms that may also be associated with IBD:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle

Even if you think you are showing signs of Crohn’s Disease symptoms, only proper testing performed by your doctor can render a diagnosis.

People suffering from Crohn’s often experience loss of appetite and may lose weight as a result. A feeling of low energy and fatigue is also common. Among younger children, Crohn’s may delay growth and development.

Crohn’s is a chronic disease, so this means patients will likely experience periods when the disease flares up and causes symptoms, followed by periods of remission when patients may not notices symptoms at all.

In more severe cases, Crohn’s can lead to tears (fissures) in the lining of the anus, which may cause pain and bleeding, especially during bowel movements. Inflammation may also cause a fistula to develop. A fistula is a tunnel that leads from one loop of intestine to another, or that connects the intestine to the bladder, vagina, or skin. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

The symptoms you or your loved one experience may depend on which part of the GI tract is affected. Read more about the Types of Crohn’s Disease and Associated Symptoms.

What are the Causes of Crohn’s Disease? Who is Affected?

Crohn’s disease may affect as many as 700,000 Americans. Men and Women are equally likely to be affected, and while the disease can occur at any age, Crohn’s is more prevalent among adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35.

The causes of Crohn’s Disease are not well understood. Diet and stress may aggravate Crohn’s Disease, but they do not cause the disease on their own. Recent research suggests hereditary, genetics, and/or environmental factors contribute to the development of Crohn’s Disease.

The GI tract normally contains harmless bacteria, many of which aid in digestion. The immune system usually attacks and kills foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms. Under normal circumstances, the harmless bacteria in the intestines are protected from such an attack. In people with IBD, these bacteria are mistaken for harmful invaders and the immune system mounts a response. Cells travel out of the blood to the intestines and produce inflammation (a normal immune system response). However, the inflammation does not subside, leading to chronic inflammation, ulceration, thickening of the intestinal wall, and eventually causing patient symptoms.

Crohn’s tends to run in families, so if you or a close relative have the disease, your family members have a significantly increased chance of developing Crohn’s. Studies have shown that 5% to 20% of affected individuals have a first – degree relative (parents, child, or sibling) with one of the diseases. The risk is greater with Crohn’s disease than ulcerative colitis. The risk is also substantially higher when both parents have IBD. The disease is most common among people of eastern European backgrounds, including Jews of European descent. In recent years, an increasing number of cases have been reported among African American populations.

The environment in which you live also appears to play a role. Crohn’s is more common in developed countries rather than undeveloped countries, in urban rather than rural areas, and in northern rather than southern climates.

Rachael’s VIRTUAL Pure Romance PARTY WITH A PURPOSE

To Join: https://www.facebook.com/events/659034504175936

Calling all divas and naughty hotties…and smart boyfriends and husbands! 😉

We’re having a virtual Pure Romance party while SUPPORTING AN EXCELLENT CAUSE! It’s a new twist for summertime fun! Shop from your seat — not on your feet!

Here’s the info:

The party begins Friday, June 6th and will be open until Sunday, June 15th. It’s going to be very interactive and I’ll be posting flash sales, videos, trivia, scavenger hunts, funnies, articles, product highlights, and more, so stay tuned and check back often! By participating and placing an order, you’ll have tons of opportunities to win prizes and save big on your Pure Romance purchase, BUT YOU MUST RSVP as ATTENDING to this Facebook event AND place an order to win.

10% of the party’s total product sales will be donated back to Rachael’s fundraising efforts for the CCFA – Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America and Team Challenge for Crohn’s & Colitis (CCFA).

****FOR RACHAEL TO GET CREDIT, YOUR ORDER MUST BE PLACED BY PHONE, TEXT, EMAIL, OR FACEBOOK MESSAGE!!!!!*****

Window-shop online at www.PureRomanceByBryann.com or view a digital catalog here: http://bit.ly/1rMpjWO, then CONTACT Bryann Robinson DIRECTLY!!!

Call/text: 509.720.VIBE (8423)
Email: PureRomanceByBryann@gmail.com

Also, be sure to go “LIKE” the Pure Romance by Bryann Facebook fan page to keep up with all the latest news, sales, specials, and sexy shenanigans! 😀

Ask me about my summertime Quickie Parties (within the greater Spokane, WA/Coeur d’Alene, ID area) or Virtual Parties! These are perfect for hectic social calendars!

That’s all, ladies! Don’t forget to INVITE YOUR 18+ FRIENDS TO THIS EVENT!!! When your friends join this event and SHOP FOR A CAUSE, YOU will earn extra entries into our drawings and giveaways throughout the party!

Let the fun begin!

Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Running From The Very Beginning

  • No matter how long you’ve been running, you always hate the first 2 miles.
  • If you start running to lose weight, you might not lose that much, but eventually you don’t care about weight because running has so many, REPEAT, SO MANY unplanned for benefits
  • That I’d be SO happy every day
  • That I’d feel a sense of immediate solidarity with other runners
  • That for real, I’d LOVE and RESPECT my body for what it can do
  • That it would change my life, take me places out there and in my heart
  • That I’d become a morning runner and just LOVE it
  • That no matter how much sunscreen I use I’d have a tan line from my shots all year long.
  • Just when it’s about to fade, summer would be back.
  • That pepper spray would be my BEST friend That I’d have to redo my wardrobe to accommodate for the new gear
  • That I’d live and eat in running clothes
  • That I would jump around like a new puppy (in my head) every time I learned someone was a runner and not even bothering holding back the excitement
  • That you face and work on your body issues every time you hit the pavement
  • That once you make running a part of you life, life is lived in color…..nothing is drab
  • That following a training plan religiously is a recipe for injury
  • That listening to your body is THE only way to avoid injury
  • That learning the weather for the next morning is more important than news
  • That you begin to notice all the people, who for whatever reason, can’t run.
  • That my muscular, toned legs would surpass my bum, as my most sexy asset (my opinion…I’m allowed.)
  • That I’d chew through ‘favorite’ songs super FAST and as a result know all the latest “cool” songs….I’m a teacher and my young students are always impressed by my playlist..little do they know I am looking for new songs weekly
  • That you’d start thinking ways to make extra money to pay for that race.
  • That most non-runners care nothing about our obsession, so, don’t be weird…..find a runner to talk to about running
  • That suddenly magazine subscriptions are IN again
  • That a half or a marathon becomes a less daunting challenge pretty fast in this journey
  • That you’d get THAT excited seeing other cars with running stickers
  • That you can’t help posting on FB about your runs, oh, and that you start not to care who “un-friends” you as a result

– See more at: http://www.womensrunningcommunity.com/training/beginners/things-i-wish-someone-would-have-told-me-about-running-from-the-very-beginning/#sthash.srraSw3h.dpuf

My Dad Walked 20 Miles to Help Me Raise Money

Hi Everyone!

Yesterday I received an email from my dad back in California (I live in Denver, CO) while I was hosting a fundraising event with a teammate. I read the email once, then twice, then had my teammate read it and then I read it again for a 3rd time because I honestly thought it was a joke.  Here is what the email said:

Yo Rachel
I walked 20 miles yesterday for your cause.  I hope I will raise $600 for you.  I haven’t run the total number, but it should be around that amount.  So if you see any mention of: Dad’s 20 Miles walk for Rachel’s “Running For A Cure in Kona & Napa”. I am asking all who pledge will go to your webpage to donate.
Anyway, I loved doing this for you and hope it helps getting you to Napa. love you and proud of you and seeing the Minute per mile average is coming down.
You got Kona now on to Napa!
dad
I honestly am in complete shock by this! I guess he has been planning this under radar for some time and made it happen this past Saturday, May 31.  Here is what the initial email said that was sent out everyone:
Good Day,
On June 22nd 2014 & July 20th 2014, Rachel, my daughter, will be participating in the Kona Half Marathon and the Napa Half Marathon.  She will be attempting to run 13.1 miles at each race for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America to help find a cure for Chron’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are known together as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). They are painful, medically incurable illness that attack the digestive system. Rachel isrunning in honor of those that are living with Crohn’s Disease and still fighting the illness today as it does hit close to home for her.

In case you are wondering why she decided to do these races, the reason is simple… because running 13.1 miles and raising $7,000 for Crohn’s and colitis research is easier than even one day living with the illness. She know from personal experience. She has Chron’s disease.
She has raised half of what she needs in raising the $7,000.  Here is where you can help.  I am attempting to walk 20 miles this Saturday, May 31st.  I am seeking people to pledge $1 a mile.  If I walk the 20 miles, then it will be only $20 dollars.  If I only walk 13.5 miles, then it will be only $13.  I want to help her in getting this done.  So please think I about pledging and let me know.  I can put you on my list.  On June 1st, I will send out an email with the results.
You might ask, “How will you know if you walk the 20 miles?”.  Good question.  The answer is with my trusty pedometer and an app call Map My Walk (plus using Google Map, I have a preliminary router showing the 20 miles).
So help me help Rachel
Donovan
This was the email he sent to everyone after he completed his 20 miles:
Yo All
I DID IT!  I walked 20 miles yesterday for Rachel’s Running For A Cure in Kona & Napa ½ Marathon.  Let’s just say, the first 10 miles were a piece of cake.  The last 10 miles wasn’t.  But I did it.  So with that behind me, here is the info you will  need to make the donation online. When you go and donate, please put the following note in the “Would you like to post a comment to this person’s webpage?
If so, please enter your comment here:”:
Dad’s 20 Miles walk for Rachel’s “Running For A Cure in Kona & Napa”.
Here is the webpage to donate:  http://online.ccfa.org/rachelbabcock
Remember, your donation is tax deductible.
Here are some stats for my walk for all you stat freaks:
20.26+mi+Walk+with+MapMyWalk
Duration:+5:20:28
Pace:+15.8+min/mi
http://www.mapmywalk.com/workout/590111927
Thanks for the support and for supporting Rachel
Donovan
PS – Drop me a note saying you did it, so I can check you off my list. thanks again
Every time I read this email it brings tears to my eyes to see all the support I get even when I am feeling defeated and second guessing. I am not sure who all it was that was involved in pledging but I can’t thank you enough from the bottom of my heart! Every single $ matters, it doesn’t have to be big. This is just a confirmation that I am doing the right thing and will reach my goal for my second half marathon. This is the least that I can do to give forward even with me having Crohn’s.  If you were on the fence about donating, please take a moment to read over this email again and realize that every one can help no matter how big or small it is.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Phil 4:6
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” 1 Thes 5:18

$13 on the 13th for 13.1

For the next 12 days, I’m focused on fundraising and awareness-raising for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis. I’m currently at 50% of the way to my goal of raising $7000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), the leading organization that funds research for better treatments and cures for Crohn’s and colitis. I’m asking for $13 donations in honor of the 13.1 miles I will run with my teammates (decked out in my Team Challenge gear and ready to talk about IBD) on July 20, 2014, in Napa, CA. That’s a pledge of $1 per mile. If you’d like to make a donation, here’s the link: http://online.ccfa.org/rachelbabcock

IBD week day 1

But why donate? What’s so special about this cause?

For me, it’s special because it’s personal. My best friend, Aunt and I ALL have Crohn’s disease. PLUS, since joining Team Challenge I’ve made over a dozen friends with these diseases and numerous friends who care for IBD patients.

This cause is special because it’s probably personal for you, too. Nearly one and a half million people in the US have Crohn’s or colitis, you probably have a friend or family member with one of theses diseases, whether you know it or not. A lot of people really hate talking about this disease (I mean, who can blame them, since so much of it has to do with how much time we spend in the bathroom) and hide the disease even from their closest friends.

Here are 13 things that people you know with Crohn’s or colitis might be dealing with RIGHT NOW:

1: Dietary restrictions. Restrictions for IBD patients could be just about anything from no leafy greens to gluten free to liquids only to IV nutrition. Symptoms and sensitivities present differently in each patient and there is no single diet that will work for every IBD patient, or even any single patient for their entire life.

2: Fatigue. When you have IBD it can be tough to get out of bed in the morning or make it through the whole day without feeling completely exhausted. There are many potential culprits of fatigue including vitamin deficiency, anemia, blood loss, and medication side effects.

3: Fever. With chronic inflammation can come chronic fevers. (These were a major symptom for me leading up to diagnosis, I would go through my normal activities regularly with 101 degree fevers.)

4: Pain.  Abdominal pain is common to all IBD patient’s, but many patients also suffer from joint pain and muscle aches too – it’s not all in the digestive tract.

5: Diarrhea. Many patients are in and out of the bathroom constantly, especially during a flare.

6: Constipation. Some patient’s suffer more from slow digestion than diarrhea, everyone is different.

7: Nausea. Another very common complaint of IBD patients.

8: Fear. This is a big one. Many patients have a lot of fears including (but not limited to) being far away from a bathroom, medical procedures like colonoscopies and surgeries, or not knowing when the next flare will come.

9: Medications and their side effects. This deserves a whole series of blog posts, but suffice it to say that IBD medications are heavy duty and many of them come with a long list of side effects that can be as difficult to deal with as the disease itself.

10: Inability to participate in favorite activities. Chronic fatigue, chronic diarrhea/constipation/nausea, chronic pain, etc., all lead to many days and nights spent missing out on favorite activities like picnics, exercise, parties, hikes, dates, trips to the beach, or whatever people love to do.

11: Vitamin deficiency. When you have IBD, large sections of the digestive tract are often inflamed and studded with ulcers, which makes it difficult for the body to absorb essential nutrients.

12: Bloody stool. This is often one of the first, frightening symptoms patient’s notice before diagnosis and also one of the symptoms that scares people so much they don’t seek treatment right away.

13: Weight loss. If you’ve got abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constant nausea, and absorption issues, it’s really easy to lose weight quickly.

Thanks for reading, and if you can, I hope you’ll donate $13 today, via my CCFA fundraiser here: http://online.ccfa.org/rachelbabcock