Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week
Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week is observed every year from December 1 to December 7. Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as Crohn’s and colitis affect an estimated 3.1 million U.S. adults (1.3% of the population) and are risk factors for other chronic conditions.
When severe, Crohn’s and colitis can produce symptoms that may require home health care, such as chronic diarrhea, malnutrition, and ulcers. Here’s more about the importance of Crohn’s and colitis awareness and how home health care can help you manage these conditions.
What Are Crohn’s and Colitis?
Crohn’s disease and colitis are the most common types of IBD.
Crohn’s is the inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. It usually affects the small intestine but may also affect the large intestine and upper gastrointestinal tract.
Colitis, also known as ulcerative colitis, is characterized by inflammation and ulcers (sores) that form along the lining of the large intestine and rectum.
Both diseases produce many of the same symptoms, including:
- Abdominal pain
- Persistent diarrhea
- Bloody stool
- Weight loss
Medications and surgery are the most common treatments for Crohn’s and colitis.
Raising Awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis
The inflammation that occurs with Crohn’s and colitis increases the risk for a wide range of serious complications. Managing IBD and knowing how to prevent it is critical to maintaining good health and a high quality of life.
Raising awareness for Crohn’s and colitis could make a huge difference in the lives of your loved ones, especially for those who meet risk factors such as smoking and having a family history of these diseases.
Here are ways to raise awareness about Crohn’s and colitis:
- Wear a purple ribbon, which is the official color of awareness for IBD.
- Educate friends and family about IBD risk factors.
- Coach patients and loved ones on ways to prevent IBD, such as eating healthy foods, managing stress, and not smoking.
- Talk to patients and community members about complications of Crohn’s and colitis. Common complications include colon cancer, bowel obstruction, and liver damage, among many others.
- Share facts about Crohn’s and colitis on social media.
How Home Health Care Can Help
If you are living with IBD and require regular or around-the-clock medical care, home health care can help you become more independent, improve your symptoms, and slow the progression of the disease.
Here are other ways home health care can help manage Crohn’s and colitis:
- Nutrition therapy. IBD may be effectively managed with a high-fiber diet, fermented foods, and a limited amount of alcohol, coffee, and sweets. Nutrition therapy is offered as part of many home healthcare services.
- Injections and medication management. Some medications for IBD—such as corticosteroids—are given by injection or IV infusion. Home health care can help you administer and manage your medications.
- Help with daily activities. Some complications of IBD can be temporary and permanently debilitating—such as surgery to remove part or all of the colon. Home health care can help you get around and carry out your usual daily activities.
- Wound care. Ulcers, fistulas, and fissures are all wounds that are common with IBD and require consistent care. A home healthcare provider can properly care for these wounds to prevent worsened infections.
Contact your healthcare provider to learn more about the benefits of home healthcare for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.