Inflamatory Bowel Disease is comprised of two distinct conditions, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both of which can flare up unpredictably, cause intestinal tissue to become inflamed, and result in debilitating pain that can last from hours to months.
The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada is committed to public awareness and early diagnosis of these diseases, which affect more than 200,000 Canadians and cost the economy about $9,000 per year per patient.
“November is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month and we want to help more individuals and Medical Practitioners identify Crohn’s and colitis symptoms earlier,” says Dr. Kevin Glasgow, CCFC’s Chief Executive Officer.
“People living with IBD too often face their conditions in silence and we want to encourage patients to speak up about their symptoms so that we can work towards quicker diagnosis times and earlier treatment.”
The main difference between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is that Crohn’s can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus, causing patches of inflammation. Colitis affects only the inner layer of the colon, or large bowel, and always starts in the rectum causing continuous inflammation that may spread into the rest of the colon.
Crohn’s disease cannot be cured by drugs or surgery, although both are proving to be helpful in relieving symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue and frequent urgent diarrhea.
The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada is a volunteer-based registered charity dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and educating patients, their families, health professionals and the general public about the diseases.
Since its founding, CCFC has invested more than $71 million in IBD research, making the foundation a world leader in non-governmental funding of IBD research.