Crohn’s Disease Treatment in NJ, CT, and MD
Chronic, long-term conditions such as Crohn’s disease can be challenging to manage from day to day. Fortunately, there are new advances in biologic therapies that can help mitigate the immune response that causes Crohn’s disease symptoms. At Regional Cancer Care Associates, patients in New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area can receive infusion services to treat Crohn’s disease and other chronic conditions.
What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes pain and inflammation in one or more sections of the digestive tract. The most common type of Crohn’s disease is ileocolitis, in which inflammation occurs in the small intestine and parts of the colon. Other types of Crohn’s disease include:
- Gastroduodenal:Inflammation occurs in the stomach and the top of the small intestine.
- Ileitis:Inflammation occurs in the longest section of the small intestine, known as the ileum.
- Jejunoileitis:Inflammation occurs in patches on the upper half of the small intestine.
Inflammation in the digestive tract can lead to chronic abdominal pain, weight loss, and fatigue. The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can be debilitating if left untreated but are manageable with the right combination of therapies.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can range from mild to severe and may vary depending on where inflammation is in the intestine. These symptoms can include:
- Cramping and pain in the abdomen or belly
- Chronic diarrhea
- Fissures or fistulas in the digestive tract or anus
- Joint pain
- Kidney stones
- Loss of appetite or feelings of fullness
- Mouth sores
- Nausea or vomiting
- Night sweats
- Rectal bleeding or bloody stools
- Skin tags
- Swollen and painful joints
- Urgent need to move bowels
- Weight loss
Most patients have flare-ups, in which symptoms are more noticeable, followed by periods of remission.
Risk Factors for Crohn’s Disease
While Crohn’s disease can appear at any age, its onset is most common between the ages of 15 and 35. Risk factors for Crohn’s disease include:
- Family history: Patients who have a close relative with Crohn’s disease or other IBD are at higher risk of developing the condition themselves.
- Racial and ethnic background: Patients who are white, particularly those with Eastern European ancestry are at higher risk of Crohn’s disease.
- Geography: Patients who live in northern climates and cities are more likely to develop Crohn’s disease than people who live elsewhere.
- Smoking: Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for Crohn’s disease and also can increase the severity of a patient’s symptoms.
Sex does not appear to be a risk factor: male and female patients are equally likely to develop Crohn’s disease.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Crohn’s Disease
Because patients with symptoms of Crohn’s disease actually may have ulcerative colitis or another type of IBD instead, thorough testing is required for accurate diagnosis. Diagnostic tests for Crohn’s disease may include:
- Biopsy: This test collects a sample of cells from the lining of a patient’s colon for examination under a microscope.
- Blood draw:A blood panel can check for a high white blood cell count, which can indicate an inflammatory condition, as well as a low red blood cell count, which may be a sign of anemia.
- Colonoscopy:This test provides a patient’s medical provider with a complete view of the large intestine, allowing the clinician to check for inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, or unusual sores. While the patient is sedated, the doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to view the lining of the colon. The doctor can also take a biopsy of colon cells during the procedure.
- Upper GI endoscopy: An endoscopy uses a lighted tube with a camera to examine a patient’s esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. As is the case during a colonoscopy, a doctor can biopsy cells during the procedure if needed.
- Imaging tests: With X-rays or a computed tomography (CT) scan, a healthcare provider can generate images of a patient’s digestive tract.
- Stool sample test:This lab test can rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms to Crohn’s disease, such as a bacterial or parasitic infection. Stool sample testing also can check for inflammation in the patient’s intestine.
Once a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease has been confirmed, a patient’s gastroenterologist will provide an overview of treatment options and lifestyle changes that can help manage ongoing symptoms. Treatments for Crohn’s disease include:
- Medication: Some patients benefit from taking corticosteroids to reduce inflammation or using over-the-counter medication that reduces abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
- Supplements: Nutritional drinks or supplements can help patients who are not absorbing enough vitamins and minerals.
- Surgery: While surgery will not cure Crohn’s disease, it can help manage symptoms in some patients. According to Mayo Clinic, almost 50% of patients with Crohn’s disease will require surgery at some point. Some patients develop fistulas or abscesses which need to be surgically treated. Other patients have surgery to remove damaged tissue from their digestive tracts.
While there is no way to prevent Crohn’s disease, certain lifestyle changes can reduce the severity of flare-ups. These include exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding certain foods that can worsen symptoms, such as dairy products and alcohol. Patients who smoke should quit the habit, and all patients with Crohn’s disease should work to manage their stress with practices such as yoga or meditation.
Infusion Therapy for Crohn’s Disease
For some patients, oral medication and lifestyle changes aren’t sufficient to manage their Crohn’s disease symptoms. These patients may benefit from biologic infusion therapy. This type of treatment uses antibodies to suppress the body’s immune responses that trigger inflammation. Infusion therapy is administered intravenously under the supervision of a medical professional. Some patients receive infusion therapy at home or in a hospital.
Increasingly, however, patients are directed to receive their infusion treatments at a community-based care center like Regional Cancer Care Associates. The medical team at Regional Cancer Care Associates offers personalized care in a convenient and comfortable setting. Many patients prefer to receive their infusion treatments at a community-based center rather than having to navigate the busy environment of a hospital. Regional Cancer Care Associates works to coordinate care with a patient’s gastroenterologist, offers patient education, and always has experienced medical staff onsite to answer any questions patients may have.
Crohn’s Disease Treatment for Patients in NJ, CT, & MD
At Regional Cancer Care Associates, the medical team works closely with gastroenterologists and other specialists to arrange infusion therapy for patients with Crohn’s disease. Patients throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area can receive treatment in our comfortable and welcoming care center locations. Regional Cancer Care Associates also offers infusion therapy services for patients with cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, plaque psoriasis, and other chronic conditions. For more information about treatment options at Regional Cancer Care Associates, call 844-474-6866 or contact us online today.
CONVENIENT LOCATIONS IN NEW JERSEY, CONNECTICUT, MARYLAND, AND THE WASHINGTON, DC AREA
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 844-474-6866. You can also schedule an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you.