Risk Factors for Crohn’s Disease: The Top 5 You Should Know

The World Health Organization claimed a risk factor as an attribute, exposure, or characteristic of an individual that may increase the likelihood of developing a disease and injury. Undeniably, there are such things that may contribute to the possibility of developing an illness, like in this case, in Crohn’s disease.

The Top Five Risk Factors for Crohn’s Disease: Things You Should Know

While the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still unknown, stress and diet already topped the possibilities of developing this condition. In all honesty, any potential trigger-factor, as long as it makes sense, can become a possibility. For instance, research suggests that it’s a result of an interaction between several factors such as immune system malfunction response, environmental factors, genetics, lifestyle, and age. They are considered as such because they are more likely to play a role in its development.

1. Immune System Malfunction Response

Inflammation is the main characteristic of Crohn’s disease. It’s a result of the immune system fighting against invaders like bacteria, viruses, and others which the body sees as foreign. Hence, as it appears, this event may be normal at first. However, when the immune system fails to shut it off after resolving a supposedly existing problem, this may result in chronic inflammation. Hence, it’s a sign that may lead to Crohn’s disease.

Other studies show that the lining of the intestinal tract becomes really affected when there is excess inflammation. This interferes with the function of the immune system and eventually causes Crohn’s disease to develop. In a manner, it’s almost the same with other autoimmune disorders, and this is what makes the diagnosis a little complicated. On the other end, activation of the immune system due to attacks on certain protein and carbohydrate structures may invade the body’s tissue. Although this appears to be a small risk factor of this condition.

2. Diet Or Nutritional Factors

Diet seems to be the most common risk factor in developing Crohn’s disease. It’s manifested through the excessive consumption of animal fat, sugar, and linoleic acid. These are considered to be one major cause of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) where it also belongs. However, getting enough nutrition and having a proper diet may help patients to improve their condition. After all, in any situation, eating right is really beneficial.

3. Environmental Factors

Some environmental factors have been associated with Crohn’s disease. With a rising number of incidence, it appears that it becomes more common in both industrialized communities and urban areas. Statistics indicated that people who are living in northern climates are more likely at risk of this condition. This is believed to be due to pollution and stressors to the immune system. Hence, even a western diet may give a great impact on a person’s health. The products are local, after all. Moreover, researchers discovered that when particular genes interact with a certain thing from the environment, such risk also increases.

4. Hereditary Factors

Experts are convinced that genetics plays a significant role in developing Crohn’s disease. As per Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, people who usually develop it has a first-degree relative having the same condition. Additionally, five to twenty percent of people with Crohn’s disease is perceived to be caused by genetic-related factors. As for the geological location, it is more likely common in people of Northern Europe, as well as Anglo-Saxon descents. It also occurs much less in southern and central Europe as well as in South America, Africa, and Asia. With these findings, they conclude that heredity may contribute as a risk factor.

5. Smoking Cigarettes

Research suggests that people who severely smoke are more prone to develop Crohn’s disease than those people who do not smoke. This is due to the interaction between the immune system and smoking, together with various factors such as environmental factors and hereditary factors. Furthermore, when you already have it and still smoke, you will be at constant risk. Hence, medication can be challenging to the point that it may require surgery.  

The Bottom Line

Generally speaking, the listed factors are all just possibilities in developing Crohn’s disease. Being exposed to them is not really guaranteed that you’ll develop this condition. However, it’d be best if you could at least avoid increasing your risk by considering them. Although of course, you can argue that not all of them are really avoidable. After all, your immune response, diet, environment, and genes can be difficult to determine. Bad habits like smoking cigarettes is a different story though as you can easily let go of it if you may.

Nevertheless, if it happens that you already developed this condition, please do visit your doctor as soon as possible. Seek your physician’s advice and get well soon. The help can really start from yourself you know. Being willing to be treated is only a step you can just take and no one else. If you wish to better, then that’s good for you. It’d even be best if you receive support from people you care the most like your family or friends.

Although if you think that you don’t have any of them, you should realize that it’s not just you who could suffer from this condition. In fact, there are many other individuals out there whose case is even worse. For all you know, the only thing that’s keeping them to hold on is the fact that they wanted to recover. You can always do the same.

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