Monday 17 November 2014

November - Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month

What are these diseases?

Crohn’s disease is named after the doctor who first described it in 1932. (Since he did not have the disease itself, it is sometimes more accurately called Crohn disease).
The inflammation from Crohn’s can strike anywhere in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from mouth to anus, but is usually located in the lower part of the small bowel and the upper end of the colon. Patches of inflammation are interspersed between healthy portions of the gut, and can penetrate the intestinal layers from inner to outer lining.  Crohn’s can also affect the mesentery, which is the network of tissue that holds the small bowel to the abdomen and contains the main intestinal blood vessels and lymph glands.

Ulcerative colitis is more localized in nature than Crohn’s disease. Typically, the disease affects the colon (large bowel) including the rectum and anus, and only invades the inner lining of bowel tissue. It almost always starts at the rectum, extending upwards in a continuous manner through the colon. Colitis can be controlled with medication and in severe cases can even be “cured” by surgical removal of the entire large intestine. 
The symptoms for both of these conditions can be painful, often severely debilitating   and make day to day living a challenge for those who suffer from them.
  • Abdominal pain, cramping                                
  • Diarrhea (bloody stools with colitis)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diminished appetite and weight loss
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
.    These facts show that this is a health issue that should concern all Canadians.
  • 1 in every 150 Canadians is living with Crohn’s or colitis – a rate that ranks in the highest worldwide
  • Families new to Canada are developing Crohn’s and colitis for the first time – often within the first generation
  • Most alarming, the number of new cases of Crohn’s disease in Canadian children has almost doubled since 1995
In response the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada is launching a national awareness campaign for the first time.  Titled Make it Stop. For Life.  they are hoping to reach a wide audience using  various media methods. 
Check the CCFC site for an example of the television and radio PSAs. 

--Patrica Milner, Head of Reference Services

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