THE “INVISIBLE ILLNESS”
CROHN’S AND COLITIS AWARENESS WEEK: DECEMBER 1-7
Crohn’s and Colitis have special importance for this law firm because they have personally touched our lives through friends and family. Those living with these illnesses are courageous people. They look just like anybody else, do not appear to have any medical issues, yet they are frequently dealing with crippling pain and the other serious problems that we will discuss in today's article.
About Laura Murrell
Laura Murrell helped us by writing this blog and is the best friend of a legal assistant at The Fountain Law Firm. She is a 22 year old Crohn’s patient, she developed Crohn’s and Colitis symptoms at the age of 17 and has been fighting it ever since. Laura is a senior at Texas A&M and studies applied exercise physiology and will be attending Physician Assistant school to work in Gastroenterology and help others with her same disease.
IBD which also stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease encompasses two different diseases: Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. IBD is also an autoimmune disease, meaning, in essence the body’s producing antibodies that are attacking and destroying “good” cells. It can be very painful. Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis (U.C.) are known to affect 1 out of every 200 people. The main difference between the two diseases is that Crohn’s runs from the mouth to the anus (affecting the whole digestive tract) while Ulcerative Colitis affects the large intestine (colon.) However, no matter where the disease strikes, it’s incredibly painful, very dangerous, and we need to fight for a cure. Common symptoms that both diseases share are: severe abdominal pain, mal-absorption, crippling joint pain, fatigue, loss of control of bowel movements, diarrhea, vomiting, and much more.
For most people who suffer from IBD this is a common occurrence and just a glimpse into what the daily life of an IBD patient is like. There is currently no cure for Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis so awareness is important. Patients often spend a lot of their time enduring procedures inside hospital walls. Medications that patients use are often many and very dangerous. There are numerous different types of drugs used such as steroids, biologics, immunomodulators, and more. These work to shut down the entire immune system while working to target the specific cells that mimic IBD, however they can be dangerous and cause very painful side effects.
75% of Crohn’s patients will have to have some type of surgery in their life due to the disease and 1/5 Ulcerative Colitis patients will have to have surgery as well. These diseases are vicious. The more awareness we can raise about them, the more people become educated, and hopefully the more money we can raise to find a cure!