What Is Crohn’s Disease?

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A chronic condition

Crohn’s disease is a chronic (long-term) disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. It belongs to a larger group of illnesses called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

While the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is not fully understood, research shows that it could be a result of factors such as genetics, the environment, or an overactive immune system.

What You Need to Know

Inflammation may lead to symptoms

Crohn’s disease is linked to inflammation. One cause of inflammation is believed to be TNF alpha (a protein that occurs naturally throughout your body). If your body produces too much TNF alpha, it can cause inflammation. 

Illustration of a digestive system

Crohn’s disease is progressive

Inflammation is your body’s normal reaction to protect itself from bacteria and viruses. But when there’s excess inflammation that doesn’t go away, it can trigger Crohn’s symptoms.

Crohn’s is a progressive disease that can gradually worsen over time.

Doing your research, speaking with your physicians, having the love and support of your family and friends makes a big difference in the journey.

- Cathy, a real Crohn’s patient using HUMIRA

Wondering how others reacted to their Crohn's diagnosis?

Crohn’s disease symptoms

Crohn’s symptoms can come and go without warning. Many people go through periods when they experience few or no symptoms, known as remission, and periods of Crohn’s flare-ups when there are frequent and/or more intense symptoms.

The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are diarrhea, cramping and pain in your abdomen, weight loss, and fever. However, your symptoms may vary depending on where inflammation occurs in your GI tract and how severe it is.

How severe are your Crohn's disease symptoms?

Mild to Moderate Crohn’s Symptoms

You may be experiencing:

  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

With no signs of:

  • Dehydration
  • High fever
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Painful mass
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Weight loss of more than 10%

Moderate to Severe Crohn’s Symptoms

You may be experiencing:

  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain/cramping or tenderness
  • Fever
  • General tiredness or fatigue
  • Significant weight loss
  • Significant anemia (a few of these symptoms may include fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and headache)

Very Severe Crohn’s Symptoms

In addition to moderate to severe symptoms, you may also be experiencing:

  • High fever
  • Persistent vomiting
  • More severe weight loss
  • Evidence of intestinal blockage or abscess (localized infection or collection of pus) as diagnosed by your doctor

Crohn’s symptoms are different for everyone

Because Crohn’s symptoms can be unpredictable, it’s important to assess them regularly and share the results with your doctor. And when thinking about Crohn’s symptoms, you should not only consider how they are affecting you physically, but how they are impacting your daily routine.

Three people at a dinner

Remission is possible

The goal of Crohn’s disease treatment is remission—few or no symptoms. This can be accomplished with medication that controls the chronic inflammation causing your symptoms. For moderate to severe Crohn’s patients, biologics are one type of treatment that you and your doctor may explore.

HUMIRA is a biologic that blocks a source of inflammation that may be contributing to your symptoms. To find out if HUMIRA might help you achieve remission, be sure to ask your doctor at your next visit.

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