Crohn's disease usually begins in young people and tends to involve the end of the small intestine (ileum) in inflammatory swelling. The inflammatory activity mostly involves the small bowel wall and often becomes chronic with thickening of the wall and sometimes perforation. The colon and other parts of the digestive tract are sometimes involved.
Crohn's disease affects males and females equally and appears to run in some families. About 20 percent of people with Crohn's disease have a blood relative with some form of inflammatory bowel disease.
Crohn's disease also involves whole-body problems - arthritis, skin problems, inflammation in the eyes or mouth, kidney stones, gallstones, and other diseases of the liver and biliary system. We think that this is related to the leakiness of the intestine and immune responses to the increased entry of food and microbial antigens.
There are four stages to this immune-mediated disease:
The Problem: Chronic immune-mediated inflammation of the digestive tract.
If you do not act in a timely manner and change your diet in a complete, careful manner, you may crash. If the disease mechanism intensifies, body dysfunction increases to the point that all your normal activities are suspended. The illness reaches a critical point and you crash. You are now seriously ill and/or disabled. You may end up in the emergency ward with bowel obstruction, perforation and bleeding. You may have surgery and lose digestive function and suffer further food intolerance and malnutrition. You are discouraged, possibly depressed and it is harder to take self-responsible action.
The Better Solution:
< Food Holiday
We advocate rigorous changes in life-style, diet and the conquest of addiction - no smoking and no compulsive eating. We acknowledge that self-responsible action is difficult and that heroic measures may be required to alter disease-causing conditions.
We have seen special problems with Crohn's patients. As the disease progresses, patients have increasing contact with physicians hospitals and tend to become passive and dependent. Often, food choices are poor, eating patterns are irregular, nutrition is compromised. Energy is low and many patients become depressed.
Often, physicians tell their patients to eat anything they like and institutional advice discourages self-responsible action. Diet revision is discouraged. The dogmatic advice of orthodox institutions is clearly biased but that does diminish the impact of this negative thinking on the patient.
An important task of the Crohn's patient, family, spouse and friends is to become well informed about the diet revision path we are advocating, confirm your right and ability to take self-responsible action and begin the process of constructive change. The inflamed digestive tract is injured and does not work well. You assume that your body is injured and must heal.