Crohn’s and Colitis: What you need to know about these ‘invisible illnesses’

Here’s what you should know about these ‘invisible illnesses’, the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

They're called the invisible illnesses but how much do you know about Crohn's and Colitis? Here's some facts you shoukd know:

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10 things to know about the conditions:

1. Every 30 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis – chronic conditions which are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), causing ulceration and inflammation in the gut.

2. They are unpredictable, lifelong and potentially life-threatening conditions.

3. Crohn’s can affect any part of the digestive system and all layers of the bowel may be inflamed.

4. Ulcerative Colitis affects the rectum and colon, and only the inner lining of the colon is inflamed.

5. At least 300,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed and are suffering physically and emotionally due to these and other forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

6. They’re becoming more common, especially among young people. 1 in 4 newly diagnosed people are under 16.

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7. The symptoms of both conditions can include diarrhoea (often with blood), severe abdominal pain, mouth ulcers, swollen joints, extreme fatigue, and dramatic weight loss. They can also cause anaemia, depression, osteoporosis and eye, skin and liver problems.

8. Celebrities who have spoken out about living with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, include former TOWIE star Sam Faiers, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2014, and five times Olympic gold medallist Steve Redgrave, who was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 1991.

9. Possible causes of the two conditions can be genetic and an abnormal reaction of the immune system to bacteria in your gut.

10.There is currently no cure for Crohn’s and Colitis, but drugs and sometimes surgery can give long periods of relief from symptoms. One in 210 people are living with these unpredictable, life-long and potentially life-threatening conditions.

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