HEALTH -- The school semester is half over. Halloween now in the past, the days have gotten shorter, with the nights getting even colder. We have made our way into November, and with November comes a special month.
Yes, we have Remembrance Day in November, and it is very important to give thanks and remember those who gave their lives so that we can live in relative peace. However, Nov. 11, is not the day to which I am referring.
What I’m speaking of is the month dedicated to Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness.
The Crohn’s and Colitis Society of Canada has taken over the month of November in an effort to raise awareness about Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This is something that I feel is an excellent idea.
While I’m aware that these are not common household diseases, the rates of both Crohn’s and Colitis are rising in Canada. The scary part is that people are being diagnosed with these diseases and not really understanding what they are.
More worrisome is that we are learning more and more about these diseases every day, and there is still much more research that needs to be done before a cause and a cure can be figured out.
I don’t want to go into a full pathophysiology lesson but I’ll give a few highlights to what each disease is.
So, both diseases are an autoimmune disease and are somewhat similar. They both include the body’s immune system destroying your own body, it just occurs in different areas.
For Ulcerative Colitis, the immune system attacks the large intestine and colon, creating ulcers in the most accessible layers of the tissue.
Ulcers are basically sores from the tissue being eaten by the immune system.
Alternatively, in Crohn’s disease, the body will attack any part of the digestive system, from your mouth all the way to your butt -in non-medical terms. These ulcers and sores produced eat through a few more layers and can get deep.
In my opinion, Crohn’s disease can be more serious and can require surgery to remove really badly damaged areas of the intestines. That being said, people with Colitis can be required to undergo surgery.
At times, people with either of these diseases may need an ostomy/ileostomy bag, which is a procedure where they attach your intestines through an opening in your abdomen to a bag - which is removable - which collects fecal matter.
This isn’t to say if you have either of these diseases that your destined for this, but it is a possibility.
The treatments for these diseases range, but overall, the goal of treatment is to simply manage symptoms. There are no cures for either of these diseases, although researchers are working at discovering a cause and a cure for both diseases.
That being said, I think I will leave it at that for today.
I simply wanted to bring attention to these two diseases.
This probably won’t be the last of it that you hear from me this month either.
As I am affected by Ulcerative Colitis, this is a topic close to my heart, so any chance I can get to either help raise funds for the Crohn’s and Colitis Society or just simply raise awareness and teach, I usually jump on it!