When you have Crohn's disease, it's important to look beyond the disease itself and include addressing the effects of the disease. This is something that it seems few gastroenterologists do, so it is up to the patient to take up this task.
I was reminded of this when I saw this article Study Backs Zinc to Prevent, Speed Recovery From Common Cold
Zinc has long been touted as a cold "cure," but many studies have failed to back its effectiveness.
More recent trials, however, find that zinc may not only shorten the duration of a cold, but also prevent one.
That is something that's been promoted on the package of Cold-Eeze Zinc losenges based on research published in 1996 and 1992. I've personally used Cold-Eeze for years, starting them immediately at the first signs that I might be getting a cold, and for me I do think they help.
However, this is where it's important to look further into the absorption of zinc for people who have Crohn's disease.
You are what you eat... minus what doesn't get absorbed. With Crohn's Disease that can lead to serious problems -- even if you think you are eating a "healthy" diet. Depending on where your Crohn's is active in your intestines, you can wind up with different nutrient absorption problems.
Monitoring the efficiency of nutrient absorption isn't just for people with Crohn's -- today I found an interesting article about the importance of digestive functionality for bodybuilders. This article gives a good overview of the entire digestive process and then goes into some detail about Leaky Gut Syndrome (which just happens to be common with Crohn's disease) and some strategies for preventing Leaky Gut and enhancing digestion.
Getting a diagnosis of Crohn's Disease is a difficult thing. Unlike other terrible diseases that can strike when you look and feel terrific, Crohn's is often diagnosed after you have been ill (perhaps even for a very long time) and finally have some drastic event that gets you to the doctor or test needed to confirm the diagnosis.
In my case, I had had stomache pain, diarrhea, and fevers for years and had just started having back pain and night sweats. Over the years I had seen several doctors including two gastroenterologists -- all of whom felt my symptoms were just from being "too nervous." So on top of all those other symptoms, the final deciding factor was I started thowing up blood and thus got myself an emergency scheduled endoscopy which led down to the final testing that confirmed I had Crohn's.
I was in horrible physical condition and in pain all the time and my inability to work was destroying my business (I self-published a magazine along with my wife (now ex-wife -- still have no idea how to properly set the tense on that).) All of a sudden I was thrown into a world of confusion where I wasn't just "too nervous" -- instead I had an incurable condition that there wasn't even any definitive working treatment for. My wife and I had just moved into a new place and were trying to set it up and we were hit with trying to figure out handling health insurance, medical testing scheduling, medications, and trying to run our business.
Honestly, I don't even remember a lot of that time very well because I was so ill that everything was a fog -- dumping all sorts of responsibility on my wife.
Today I just got a copy of a book that I think would have been very helpful in getting through that period.
A recent study showed that even when Crohn's Disease is in remission, you still need to be concerned that you might not be absorbing enough Vitamin D. This is a serious issue since Vitamin D is associated with such good things as keeping your bones strong and healthy, fighting cancer, and fighting colds and flu.
Low Vitamin D levels have long been associated with Crohn's disease, but this study specifically tested how much Vitamin D was absorbed when patients with Crohn's disease in remission were given Vitamin D orally.
There's something about New Years and resolutions that gets people fired up to try to improve their fitness level. Improving fitness is something that I personally feel is an important part of maintaining control over your Crohn's disease -- the more you control your body, the less you feel it has control over you.
When I first started lifting weights I did it at home out of necessity -- I was still way too sick to be able to go to a gym. I started with a Crossbow machine (similar to a Bowflex machine -- and which turned out to be a bad idea) and with adjustable dumbbells (which turned out to be a good idea).
However there are times and reasons for everything, and there are some things a commercial gym can offer that can't be easily replicated at home (like a having variety of heavy and expensive cardio machines).
Although I disagree with some of the fitness advice in this article by Consumer Reports, I think the health advice is very important for people with Crohn's disease.
Crohn's disease may cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new study contends. This doesn't surprise me. For many people, the diagnosis of Crohn's comes after some serious medical event that finally brings attention to the condition -- but this event is often preceded by months or years of medical problems that are misdiagnosed and often even considered to be psychosomatic.
In my own case, I remember being confused by a doctor visit when I first started high school. The doctor asked me if I had kissed anyone and I had no idea why a doctor would ask that or what it had to do with my health. I now realize that it was suspected that I had mono (Mononucleosis) -- which is a common Crohn's disease misdiagnosis. Throughout high school various stressors would give me stomache pains so bad that I would double over in pain - this was considered psychosomatic. A decade later I was having fevers all the time (I must catch colds easily) and diarrhea all the time (I'm too "high strung"). After about five years of living with that, I finally was diagnosed with Crohn's -- after an emergency visit to a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy because I was vomiting up blood.
Back in the 90's it was thought biotech drugs for autoimmune diseases wouldn't be accepted by patients because they wouldn't want to take injectable drugs. Of course, anybody with Crohn's who has had success with Remicade, Humira, or any of the other biologics will tell you that a few needles are nothing compared to the destructiveness of the disease. I think that anyone who hasn't wasted away because they couldn't eat, been effectively chained to a toilet with constant diarrhea, or suffered intense pain, fevers, and night sweats -- just can't understand how desperate someone with Crohn's becomes.
If you are one of the people that one of these drugs works for, then your life becomes a succession of treatments -- either IV infusions of Remicade or self-injections of some of the other drugs. Which is still easier to take than the Crohn's symptoms (and I say this as a person who had a lifelong fear of needles and hospitals and now goes to the hospital every 8 weeks for a Remicade infusion).
However, a concern with all of the biologics is that they shut down a big part of your immune system -- often making you more susceptable to TB, respiratory infections, some cancers, etc. Frankly, the warning list is a little too scary to read.
ChemoCentryx is creating pills that interact with the chemokine system -- disrupting the process that leads to autoimmunity but without shutting down other immune system functions. Since a whole bunch of conditions are autoimmune in nature (Remicade is used for Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis) this is basically creating a magic pill for a market that utilizes billions and billions of dollars of medicine.
Welcome to Xcrohns.com. I am a fellow Crohn's sufferer (though I'm way healthier today than I was 10 years ago). As part of my efforts to help educate people with my Rise Above Crohn's site, I go through a lot of material related to Crohn's disease.
On this site I'll post links to the things I find that I think are most worth looking at if you are someone with Crohn's disease. Some of these things relate directly to Crohn's in an obvious way, some are things that I think are worth looking at for general health reasons or other reasons. For more about this site and what else I'm doing, see the About This Site page.
I had to find something to lead off with as my first post on the site, and this is what I came up with - an ad for Remicade that says "There's a better way to deal with Crohn's disease" with the additional tagline "Life Changing". As far as conveying the difficulty of Crohn's with a single image, this ad does a great job.