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DECEMBER BLOG

CROHN’S AND COLITIS AWARENESS

 

What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract.  The disease causes inflammation in part of the digestive system Crohn's can affect any part of it, but most often affects the small intestine and colon.  Crohn's and another disease, ulcerative colitis, belong to a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease.  There’s no cure, but treatment can ease symptoms and help sufferers enjoy a full and active life. 

 

The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease remains unknown. Previous research suspected diet and stress as triggers.  Current research indicates these factors may aggravate but do not cause IBD.  A possible cause is an immune system malfunction!  When the immune system tries to fight off an invading virus or bacterium, an abnormal immune response triggers the immune system to attack the cells in the digestive tract, too.  Heredity also seems to play a role.  IBD is more common in families with members with the disease however many with IBD don't have a family history.

 

People with Crohn's disease can experience severe symptoms followed by periods that are symptom free that can last for weeks or years.  Symptoms depend on location of the disease and its severity.  Crohn's treatment incorporates lifestyle changes which include exercise, a healthy diet, over-the-counter anti-diarrhetics, prescription anti-inflammatory medication and herbal treatments.  Symptoms of Crohn’s could include:

 

 

Complications With Crohn’s Disease - You might hear them called extra-intestinal complications.  Crohn’s causes two types of complications:  Local - which affects only the intestines or Systemic - which affects the entire body.

 

Local complications include:

  • Abscess – A pocket of pus which occurs with a bacterial infection.  It can form on the walls of your intestines and bulge out.  Or you might get one near the anus that looks like a boil and you may notice swelling, tenderness, pain and fever.
  • Bile salt diarrhea - Crohn’s disease most often affects the ileum, the lower end of the intestine.  The ileum usually absorbs bile acids, which your body creates to help it absorb fat.  If your body can’t process the fat, the result is this type of diarrhea.
  • Fissure - is a painful tear in the lining of the anus and can cause bleeding during bowel movements.
  • Fistula – are sores or ulcers located near the area where the two parts of your intestine connect.  They can also tunnel into nearby tissues, like the bladdervagina and skin.
  • Malabsorption and malnutrition - Crohn's affects the small intestine, the part of your body that absorbs nutrients from food.  Suffering long term from Crohn’s, the body may no longer be able process the nutrients from what you eat.
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) – the intestines is naturally full of bacteria that aids in the breakdown of food.  When this process happens higher up in the digestive tract, you get gas, bloating, belly pain and diarrhea.
  • Strictures – are narrowed, thickened areas of your intestines resulting from inflammation that comes with Crohn’s.  The strictures can be mild or severe, depending on how much of the intestine is blocked.  Symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, and bloating.

 

Systemic complications include:

  • Arthritis - Joint inflammation, which leads to pain, swelling and a lack of flexibility, is the most common complication.  There are three types of arthritis that sometimes come with Crohn’s:
  • Peripheral - affects large joints in the arms, legs, elbows, knees, wrists and ankles.
  • Axial - affects the spine or lower back
  • Ankylosing spondylitis the more serious type of spinal arthritis is rare among people with Crohn’s and can also lead to inflammation in the eyeslungs and heart valves.

 

  • Skin problems - the second most common systemic complication.  These are most often linked to Crohn’s disease:
  • Erythema nodosum - small, tender, red nodules usually show up on the shins, ankles, and sometimes the arms.
  • Pyoderma gangrenosum - pus-filled sores often follow an injury or other skin trauma.  They often appear on the legs but can show up anywhere.
  • Skin tags - small flaps of skin are common with Crohn’s, especially around the anus or hemorrhoids.
  • Mouth ulcers - or canker sores form between the gums and lower lip or along the sides and bottom of your tongue.

 

  • Stops the body from absorbing calcium, which is needed to build bone.
  • Makes the body get rid of calcium during urination.
  • Boosts production of cells that break down bone.
  • Lowers the number of cells that help form bones.
  • Lowers the body’s output of estrogen which helps build bone.
  • Proteins that cause inflammation change the pace in which old bone is removed and new bone is formed.

 

  • Vitamin D deficiency - If the body can’t absorb vitamin D because of damage to the small intestine or part of the small intestine has been removed, you’re less likely to be able to absorb calcium and make bone.

 

  • Eye problems - Over time, inflammation from Crohn’s or other complications, can affect the eyes.  Common conditions include:
  • Episcleritis - Inflammation of the area just below the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that covers the inside of your eyelids and the white of the eye.  This is the most common complication and can affect one or both eyes.  You’ll experience pain, itching, burning and intense redness, but it won’t hurt your vision.
  • Scleritis - causes constant pain that gets worse with eye movement. 
  • Uveitis - is a painful inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of your eye.  It can cause blurry vision, light sensitivity and redness.

 

  • Kidney problems – Certain organs can be affected by Crohn’s because of the role they play in processing waste and because of the proximity to the intestines.
  • Kidney stones - A salt called oxalate gets absorbed into the kidneys and can turn into stones.
  • Uric acid stones – form because the body can’t absorb all the uric acid it makes.
  • Hydronephrosis – occurs when the ileum, where the small intestine meets the large, swells from inflammation putting pressure on the ureter, the tube that carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder.  When urine can’t drain, the kidney swells and scar tissue can form.
  • Fistulas can form not only within your intestines, but also between the intestine and other organs, like the bladder or ureter.

 

  • Liver problems the liver processes everything you eat and drink and can become inflamed from treatment.  Sufferers will notice low energy and fatigue.  Among the most common issues:

 

  • Hepatitis - chronic, long-term liver inflammation

 

 

  • Physical development problems - Crohn’s can start at any age.  Kids with the disease experience: 
  • Growth failure kids are likely to be shorter and weigh less than those without. They may stop getting taller before symptoms start!
  • Delayed puberty

 

What are the Associated Risk Factors With Crohn's

  • Genetics - Crohn's disease is often inherited.  About 20% of people with Crohn's disease may have a family history of Crohn's or ulcerative colitis.   Ashkenazi Jews are at greater risk for the disease.
  • Age - Crohn's disease can affect all ages, but it’s primarily an illness of the young!  Most are diagnosed before age 30, but the disease can happen in people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, or later in life.
  • Smoking OK, blame something else on cigarettes, but this is the one risk factor that’s easy to control!  Smoking can make Crohn’s more severe and raise the odds for the need of surgery.
  • Medications - nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofennaproxen or similar medications don’t cause Crohn’s disease, but can lead to inflammation of the bowels that makes it worse.
  • The world around you - People who live in urban areas or industrialized countries are more likely to get Crohn’s.
  • Diet - the odds of Crohn’s increases if you eat a lot of high-fat or processed foods.
  • Infections - Bacteria linked to Crohn’s include Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosism, which causes a similar condition in cattle and a type of E. coli.

 

Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) is a group of bacteria related to tuberculosis.  These germs are common in food, water and soil.   Almost everyone has them in their bodies!  When the immune system is strong, they don't cause problems.  But those with weaker immune systems, such as patients with HIV, become very sick.  Bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium are gram-positive, acid-fast organisms that include a number of significant human and animal pathogens.  

 

Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis is considered to be one of the most serious diseases affecting dairy cattle.   Isolation of M. paratuberculosis from intestinal tissue of Crohn's disease patients has led to concerns that it may be pathogenic for humans. 

 

How Is Crohn's Disease Treated?

Though treatments can’t cure Crohn's disease, they can help most sufferer’s lead normal lives.

Crohn's disease is treated primarily with medications, including:

 

Side effects include upset stomach, headache, nausea, diarrhea and rash.

 

These medications taken over long periods can have lasting side effects which can include bone thinning, muscle loss, skin problems and a higher risk of infection.  

 

 

It can take up to 6 months for these drugs to work and they could cause a higher risk of infections that can be life-threatening.

 

 

Flagyl can cause a metallic taste in the mouth, nausea and tingling or numbness of the hands and feet.  Cipro can cause nausea and tears in the Achilles tendon.

 

  • Drugs for diarrhea.

 

 

Once treatment is initiated, your practitioner will monitor how well it works.  Then "maintenance therapy" will keep your symptoms at bay.  If needed, a more aggressive treatment may be warranted which would include nutritional supplements, too.

 

  • Surgery may be needed with 66% to 75% of sufferer’s.  Surgery is usually done to treat complications of the disease or when medications don't help.  Common procedures include:
  • Anastomosis - the diseased part of the bowel is removed and the two healthy ends are rejoined.  The surgery will allow many to remain symptom-free for years, but isn’t a cure.  Crohn's disease often comes back at the site of the anastomosis.
  • Ileostomy is performed if the rectum is diseased and the doctor can’t use it for an anastomosis.  This procedure connects your intestine to the skin and an opening is made for a special pouch that will collect waste products that must be emptied.

 

When the ileostomy is temporary, it most often means all of your large intestine was removed and you still have at least part of your rectum.  You will need to use it long-term if all of your large intestine and rectum have been removed.

 

Research is ongoing and developing.   A new clinical trial at Queen Mary University of London is working to help sufferer’s who haven’t responded to available drugs or surgery.  “What we’re doing is using a patient’s own stem cells to reset their immune system,” Prof. James Lindsay said.   Study participants with Crohn’s receive chemotherapy to wipe out their faulty immune system.  Doctors then use a stem cell transplant and hormone treatments to grow a new one.

 

Living With Crohn’s - Foods or Supplements?

Almost any diet expert will tell you it's better to get vitamins and minerals from foods than from a pill!   But with Crohn's disease, that's not always possible.  Certain healthy foods, high-fiber nuts and seeds, may trigger symptoms.  Crohn's, especially when active, can make the body work harder, so the need for additional calories and nutrients through supplements can help fill the gaps.

 

It is a team effort when dealing with Crohn’s disease.   Don't make the supplement decision alone, work with your health professional.  While supplements can assist in better nourishment, some can affect the way Crohn's drugs work or may make symptoms worse.

Your health professional may test the body’s levels of Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12 or other vitamins and minerals prior to implementing them.  What is needed in the body may also depend on where the intestinal damage is located. 

 

  • Vitamin B-12 - If you've experienced surgery in the lower part of your small intestine, you may not be getting enough Vitamin B-12.   You may be advised to either take supplements or you can utilize a few food sources: 
  • Beef - Beef liver, ground beef, top sirloin
  • Dairy - Cheese, low-fat milk, yogurt,
  • Fish and seafood - Clams, haddock, salmon, trout, tuna
  • Poultry - Chicken

 

  • Folic Acid - Some Crohn's drugs, methotrexate and sulfasalazine, lower the body’s levels of folic acid.  You may be advised to either take supplements or you can utilize a few food sources: 
  • Beef - Beef liver, ground beef
  • Fish and seafood - Dungeness crab, halibut
  • Fruit - Banana, cantaloupe, papaya
  • Poultry - Chicken
  • Veggies - Asparagus, avocado, black eyed peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green peas, kidney beans, mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens

 

  • Calcium - Steroids for Crohn's disease can weaken bones.  If the body can't digest milk or milk products, you're more likely to be calcium deficient.   You may be advised to either take supplements or you can utilize a few food sources:
  • Dairy -  Cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, milk, sour cream, yogurt
  • Fish - Salmon, sardines
  • Veggies - Bok choy, broccoli, kale, turnip greens
  • Vitamin D - helps the body in the absorption of calcium for strong bones, but those with Crohn's disease often don’t have enough.   You may be advised to either take supplements or you can utilize a few food sources:
  • Cereal - Vitamin D fortified
  • Dairy - Milk (nonfat, reduced-fat and whole -- vitamin D fortified), Swiss cheese
  • Fish - Salmon, sardines, swordfish, tuna
  • Meat - Liver
  • Orange juice - Vitamin D fortified

 

  • Vitamins A, E, and K - Surgery on the intestines makes it harder for the body to absorb fats, which lowers levels in the body of these vitamins.  You may be advised to either take supplements or you can utilize a few food sources:
  • Food sources of Vitamin A
  1. Eggs
  2. Fruit - Apricots, cantaloupe, mangos
  3. Fish and poultry - Chicken, herring, Sockeye salmon, tuna
  4. Dairy - Ice cream, fat-free or skim milk with vitamin A, ricotta cheese, yogurt
  5. Veggies -  Baked beans, black-eyed peas, carrots, spinach, summer squash, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes

 

  • Food sources of Vitamin E
  1. Fruit - Kiwi, mango
  2. Nuts and nut butters - Peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter
  3. Oils - Corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, wheat germ oil
  4. Veggies - Broccoli, spinach, tomato

 

  • Food sources of Vitamin K
  1. Beef and pork - Ground beef, ham
  2. Dairy - 2% milk, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese
  3. Fruit - Blueberries, grapes, pomegranate
  4. Fish, seafood, and poultry - Chicken breast, chicken liver, shrimp, sockeye salmon
  5. Veggies - Broccoli, carrots, collards, edamame, figs, kale, okra, spinach, turnip greens

 

  • Iron - Inflammation from Crohn’s may keep the body from using Iron as well as it should. Also, blood loss from ulcers may add to the loss of Iron.  You may be advised to either take supplements or you can utilize a few food sources:
  • Dairy - Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, milk
  • Fish, seafood, and poultry - Chicken, oysters, sardines, turkey
  • Fruits - Cantaloupe, raisins
  • Nuts - Cashews, pistachios
  • Veggies - Broccoli, chickpeas, green peas, kidney beans, lentils, mushrooms, potatoes, rice, spinach, tomatoes, white beans

 

  • Potassium, Magnesium and Zinc - You may be advised to either take supplements or you can utilize a few food sources:
  • Food sources of Potassium
  1. Dairy - Cheese, soymilk, yogurt
  2. Fruits - Apple, apricot, banana, cantaloupe, prunes, raisins
  3. Beef - Sirloin
  4. Fish, seafood, and poultry - Chicken, salmon, tuna,
  5. Oil - Canola, corn, olive
  6. Veggies - Acorn squash, asparagus broccoli, kidney beans, potato, soy beans, spinach, tomato

 

  • Food sources of Magnesium
  1. Dairy - Part skim mozzarella, soymilk, yogurt
  2. Fruits - Apple, banana, raisins
  3. Nuts - Almonds, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter
  4. Beef - Ground beef
  5. Fish, seafood, and poultry - Chicken, halibut, salmon
  6. Dairy - Milk, yogurt
  7. Veggies - Avocados, black beans, broccoli, carrots, edamame, kidney beans, potato, spinach

 

  • Food sources of Zinc
  1. Beef and pork - Beef chuck roast, pork chop
  2. Dairy - Cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, low-fat or nonfat milk, Swiss cheese, yogurt
  3. Fish, seafood, and poultry - Crab, dark meat chicken, flounder, lobster, oysters, sole
  4. Nuts - Almonds, cashews
  5. Veggies - : Baked beans, chickpeas, green peas, kidney beans

 

 Immune Boosters

  • Sovereign Silver - Colloidal silver is a fantastic anti-inflammatory remedy.   Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied the effects of inflammation after being treated by colloidal silver.    Colloidal silver’s ability to control antibiotic-resistant superbugs is astonishing.  While employed at UCLA Medical School in the 1980s, Larry C. Ford, MD, documented over 650 different disease-causing pathogens that were destroyed in minutes when exposed to small amounts of silver.  A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine supported ionic colloidal silver as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent against both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. 

 

  • Cell Power – Cell Power kills infectious bacteria and viruses, fungi, mold and parasites. It has been shown to boost T-cell numbers and activity.  It does not harm the beneficial flora and microorganisms needed by the body.  Cell Power increases cellular respiration.  Pure oxygen is needed at the cellular level.  Atmospheric oxygen has decreased from 38 to 50% saturation to 21% in the air we breathe and Cell Power brings pure oxygen to the cellular level.

 

Cellular Oxygenation and Detoxification may be useful for people who suffer from the following conditions:

  1. Allergies
  2. pH Imbalances
  3. Digestive imbalances
  4. Systemic inflammation
  5. Viral, fungal and bacterial infections
  6. Asthma
  7. Poor absorption of vitamins and minerals

 

ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL

 

 

 

Write a comment

Comments

  • Barbra Rose Meyer (Tuesday, January 10 17 06:52 pm EST)

    Great blog! I left my position in brilliant hands! Very Informational!

  • Joe Felix (Sunday, December 03 17 07:06 pm EST)

    I found your COPD comments interesting. Would you consider doing a leaky gut syndrome segment?

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