dominique Hoffman writes:

"I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 1999. The symptoms presented themselves as flu, then Irritable Bowel Syndrome and until 2003, it was diagnosed as Ulcerative Colitis. The fact that I developped fistulas changed the diagnosis to Crohn's Disease. I had surgery a few times to remove the colon and fistulas, and I was on parenteral nourishment for a while. Crohn's Disease has affected my mobility because I have osteoporosis and get tired. I use a rollator to carry thing or a walking stick otherwise. When I use the walking stick, I find it difficult to walk amongst people especially if someone cuts me off, children run between my legs or if people brush past me as all this affects my balance. Due to tiredness, I am succeptible to noises and it is a struggle to disguise irritation. Another irritating symptom of Crohn's are the recurring mouth ulcers.

What I find difficult with Crohn's are the dietary needs and the risks of infections. Due to low immune system, I had septicimia and septic arthritis a few times, and I need to keep a food diary to monitor what I can eat. Most of the times, I go shopping daily because I found that it is of no use buying in bulk and then having a bad patch and not being able to eat the food. I discovered that I can digest porridge , soya products, potatoes, rice and couscous. This forms my staple diet. I can also eat peas and beans from time to time as long as they are pureed but raw carrots, olive and raw tomatoes do not agree with me. I eat most vegetables and pulse as a pureed soup.  I can't eat most fruit but discovered that clementines, apple, berries and peaches are fine. I stopped eating meat  because it felt heavy on the stomach and at the same time I had to limit my coffee intake because I developed uric acid kidney stones in 2014. I drink mostly water, herbal tea and black tea. My weight has remained stable, I am neither underweight nor overweight.

For me, the main social problem with Crohn's Disease is eating in the company of other people. Either they tend to fuss too much, suggest their own concept of healthy eating. I have the feeling that some people regard me as a fussy eater.. I like music andI used to go and  see musicians play, and I found people in music venues friendly.  When I travel, I need to locate lifts and toilets - travelling has been a bit difficult in the last years or so because many low-budget hotels are not disabled-accessible and a few stations on the underground do not have lifts. However, I don't go out very much these days as such events are tiring but last year, I rented a cottage in the Irish country side and it provided a restful holiday.

 When the weather is mild outside, I like to have a small meal in town. Most of the time it consists of  a sandwich or a pastry with cup of tea and a large glass of water.   Likewise, small portions of convenience foods such as crisps, and chocolate are easy to find, and enjoyable. I used to overeat those.

 Because of the illness I find it difficult to sit upright for a long time so I sit at my desk for about 90 minutes in one session and then I need to lie down for two hours or so. Then I usually watch TV, read or sketch.  When the weather is mild, I try to walk about 5.000 steps. When the weather is mild, I go to the gym and workout on the static bike for half-an-hour. I try to get organized with my housework and my animals remind me that they need to get their meals on time and some attention too. I find that they have helped me cope with anxiety and depression.

I don't have a carer nor anyone living with me, but all in all I manage because the occupational therapist has adapted my flat so that I can use it on my own  I have a shower  I like being on my own because noise is a great stress factor. Mental exhaustion has been slowing me for years so I do apologize if my website is not totally up-to-date. Every evening end with taking my medication and drinking a cup of camomille tea.

Crohn's is not an auto immune illness
 SPIEGEL (from the 18.07.2011): Not only the medical skills, also the search for the causes mechanisms of Crohn's have made significant progress in the last  40 years. For a long time it was considered to be an auto immune disease in which the immune system - inexplicably attacks the body instead of  the cause of the illness. In last decade not only has  the knowledge about genetics increased, not least  thanks to research Prof. Stefan Schreiber at the institute in Kiel.

Even if the precise cause of the illness  - a mixture of genetics and environmental factors -  is not known yet, it has been established  that  is part of the cause a 'barrier defect' : There is a disturbance of the intestinal mucous membrane which appears on account of a lack of antibiotics produced by the body (there are other complementary variations). The barrier defect enables  bacteria to penetrate  areas of the intestinal wall  - which they cannot reach when the barrier is intact. Then there they become - whether illness causes or not -  perceived as aggressors and the immune system responds accordingly.  (to be continued)

 It is a nonsense to classify Morbus Crohn as an auto immune disease '
Crohn in SPIEGEL (from the 18.07.2011): Not only the etiology, also the therapy has done during the last 40 years of progress

„ In the old days, in the bleeding days“?

' A doctor told her in private: "Do not marry, do not have any children, look for a stress-free  workplace. Apart from that, stay at home,and let yourself be pampered." This was  40 years ago '

What Marga R. told the SPIEGEL on 18.07.2011, sound hair-raising. Unfortunately, this is an experience which is shared by many older sufferers of the  chronically inflammatory intestinal diseases - such as Crohn's Disease or ulcerative Colitis - affected persons.

Marga R. did not take heed of the advice, she  studied and had her own private business, she married, had a son and is now a grandmother of two. Nowadays, however, she suffers also from the long term consequences  of the illness and its therapy - Cortisone  treatment in proportions not imaginable today - : High blood pressure, kidney problems, osteoporosis. However, this could not take her optimism and her joy of life away from her.

What Is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease which affects the intestinal tract. It is sometimes found to affect the entire gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. It affects 2-7 out of 100,000 people and the numbers have been found to be growing. It develops in the age group of 15 years-40 years and can also be seen in children.  There is no cure for Crohn’s disease. Medicine and strict diet can help to control this condition. It is important to know how to treat Crohn’s disease to help the patients understand their condition well and cope with the symptoms. Some of the symptoms of this disease are abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and ulcerations seen in the small and large intestines.  

Complications From Crohn’s Disease

  • Abscesses in the colon
  • Narrowing of the colon
  • Perforation of the colon
  • Infection of the blood
  • Fistulas
  • Infection of the blood
  • Colon cancer
  • Joint pain and arthritis
  • Gallstones
  • Eye infections/inflammations
  • Mouth ulcers, gum inflammation
  • Blood clots
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Infection in the liver

Various Forms Of Treatment

Medicines And Drugs
This is the most conventional method to treat Crohn’s disease.
·        Aminosalicylates and steroids like prednisolone are found to reduce inflammation
·        Azathioprine- to suppress the immune system, is needed for more serious forms of the disease
·        Infliximab- to treat severe Crohn’s disease
·        Antidiarrheal- drugs like Imodium for persistent diarrhea and abdominal pain
This is done if the intestines are badly affected or if there is blockage. This gives significant relief from the symptoms. There are side effects when these drugs are taken. There can be nausea, vomiting, shock and increased risk of infection due to suppression of the immune system.
 Is Crohn’s disease considered a disability or not, let us find out more about the disease. It is an IBD or an inflammatory bowel disease that afflicts the digestive tract, especially the intestines. Its symptoms include watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, fever and loss of appetite. Intestinal blockages, ulcers, fistulas, anal fissures are other symptoms that are common. It is said that 1 in 500 people suffer from the IBD. Patients usually are aged between 14 years and 30 years.
Sadly, no cures have been discovered and in fact, the causes are not very clear. Some attribute it to an auto immune system defect, triggered by bacteria. Genetics, diets rich in saturated fats and refined flour are also said to be causative factors. Diets rich in sugar and smoking are also said to be other causes.
There are many drugs used in treating the condition, but none of them can actually cure the diseases and may only relieve some of the symptoms. These drugs are some times ineffective and most of them have serious side effects, such as, lowered sperm counts, nausea, glaucoma, cataract, and high blood pressure.

 Try and collect enough information on how to treat Crohn’s disease. You need to always remain positive and do some relaxation activities. You should learn to take control of the situation and also learn to cope with the disease in a better way. Some patients need psychotherapy as the onset of the disease can have traumatic psychological effects.
Diets and supplements
First of all, a Crohn's patient always needs to follow their doctor's advice regarding medication, especially if the disease is coupled with depression and secondary physical ailments.

There are various alternative treatments being tried, such as, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, herbal remedies, exercise, but mainly people have begun to rely on diet therapy.
The key to managing the disease and controlling it seems to be ingestion of a carefully formulated customized diet, for each individual patient. It helps a lot, if the patients put some effort in identifying foodstuff that aggravates their conditions. It is also necessary to increase their fluid intake and to ensure that they receive supplements of essential vitamins and minerals.
Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as, flax seed oil, fish such as salmon and mackerel are recommended, as they greatly diminish inflammations. Sea veggies, barley greens, alfalfa, grapefruit extracts, lime and lemons juice, and fig juice are said to be effective. It is however, recommended that patients do not try any of these products, unless they have asked their physician about including it in their diet.
Many patients cannot eat fast foods, dairy products [depends on their lactose tolerance levels], fried foods, high sugar diets and acidic foods, such as, pickled vegetables and fruits. Smoking and alcohol are a big no too.

Diet And Supplements
An elemental diet, which is a liquid diet, made of simple protein, carbohydrates and fats is recommended for active Crohn’s disease. This allows easy absorption without further digestion that can cause a remission of the illness. You can also take natural supplements of omega 3 fatty acids like certain seed oils, walnuts etc., to improve the intestinal health and digestive function. There is considerable loss of nutrients and hence supplements of Vitamin B12, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, iron and trace elements have to be taken. If there is no complication, patients are advised to take a diet balanced with high fiber content. Any allergy producing foods like milk products, wheat and soy have to be avoided. You also need to avoid too much of caffeine, fat, alcohol, sugar, tea, potato, yeast, and corn. The diet should constitute of good quality of fruits, vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. You also need to avoid fried or raw foods as they are hard on the intestines.
Herbal Cure
Marshmallow root with some herbs is found to reduce the symptoms greatly. You can have it in the form of tea or as a capsule. Other herbs like comfrey, slippery elm, and golden seal are also found to treat Crohn’s disease effectively. You can also do some light exercises to improve your overall health.
Is Crohn's Disease a disability?

Is Crohn’s disease considered a disability? Well it seems like the answer is yes, indeed. Patients fail to lead normal lives, as the effect of the disease when it is at its worst can be devastating. Many patients have to undergo surgery for blocked intestines and other complications. At times, they have to be given parenteral nourishment, as their intestine cannot handle even the mildest diets. Some patients, who have suffered severely, may agree when asked is Crohn’s disease considered a disability. But there are those who maintain a positive attitude and do their best to live a normal life and may not agree that it is a disability,Even those people, are unable to lead a normal life, eat a regular diet or who have to quit working, because of the disease,
I guess the answer will be a resounding yes: Crohn's Disease is a disability.

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