August 23, 2011 at 9:44 am
A recent article discussing Crohn’s and Colitis UK’s campaign to improve employment prospects for those with Crohn’s disease reports that 66% of employers aren’t fully aware of the needs of those with the condition. This can make working life hard for those suffering from the disorder, but as a few adjustments could make a big difference to those with Crohn’s disease – a little awareness amongst friends and colleagues can go a long way.
So what is Crohn’s disease? Most of us know that it affects the digestive system, but as the symptoms can sometimes be similar to other illnesses, some of us might be unsure about what it actually involves. And because it’s Gut Week, now’s a good time to find out more:
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation of the bowel. Symptoms most commonly present themselves in the lower areas of the gut, but can affect any area of the digestive system – and ordinarily begin between the ages of 15 and 40. These symptoms include recurring stomach pain, diarrhoea, tiredness, fevers and weight loss, and can lead to anaemia or vitamin deficiencies. Ongoing damage to the digestive system can also cause further problems, such as the narrowing of the colon or in severe cases an increased risk of developing some forms of cancer. Around 80% of Crohn’s disease sufferers will require surgery to help improve their condition at some point.
Making life easier
These symptoms can disrupt the everyday lives of sufferers, as well as leaving some feeling unable to manage their symptoms at work. But there are often changes which could make things easier for sufferers – and some may find that having an understanding boss, the chance to work flexible hours or carrying a Can’t Wait card (which helps emergency access to toilets in public places) can help.
There are also a number of treatments and diet changes which can effectively reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, allowing most people who have the disorder to live a relatively normal life. The most appropriate course of action varies from person to person, and is decided by specialists, doctors and dieticians.
If you would like to join discussions about Crohn’s Disease, you can log onto Crohn’s Diesase UK forum.
What do you think?
Most of us experience the odd stomach pain every now and again. But Gut Week helps us understand the digestive disorders which go beyond an occasional ache. Is Crohn’s disease something you were previously aware of? Or has it affected you or someone you know? Please let us know in the comments.