Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are no strangers to many Americans. In fact, more than 700,000 Americans have Crohn’s disease and more than 750,000 Americans have ulcerative colitis. Because IBDs are so common, it is important to dedicate a week to building up the IBD community, spreading awareness, and educating others on symptoms to look out for.
Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week was created in 2011 by the United States Senate Resolution 199 and takes place December 1st through the 7th. In order to help do our part, let’s take a look at what these diseases are and how you can help.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is an incurable IBD that results in inflammation and scarring to the intestines. Because it affects the lining of the digestive tract, it can result in many painful symptoms: abdominal pain, weight loss, diarrhea, and more. If symptoms aren’t treated and Crohn’s continues to worsen, it can lead to life-threatening complications.
No two individuals experience Crohn’s the same way because the disease can affect various areas in the digestive tract. Unfortunately, not only is the disease incurable, its origins are also unknown.
What is Colitis?
Similar to Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis is an incurable IBD that impacts the digestive system. Colitis causes inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine, also called the colon.
Symptoms of colitis are similar to Crohn’s: abdominal pain, frequent diarrhea, cramping, and weight loss.
How You Can Help
If you or someone you know experiences Crohn’s, colitis, or any other IBD, make sure you show your support always, but especially during Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week. Let them know that they are not alone in what they are experiencing.
You can participate in the awareness week in many ways: donating to a fundraiser, spreading awareness via social media, sporting one of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation t-shirts, or just simply having a conversation with those you love about the common symptoms.
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of Crohn’s, colitis, or any other IBD, please see a medical professional immediately. It’s best to treat the symptoms as early as possible.
For more common illnesses and diseases like Crohn’s or colitis, visit our Hospitality Health ER blog, where we’ve recently covered Arrhythmia, Type 2 Diabetes in Children, and Gallbladder Stones. For notifications on new posts and what’s new at HHER, follow along with us on Facebook.