Pathological Conditions Affecting Digestive System

15 03 2010

Over 160 people for every 100,000 are diagnosed each year with Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory infection of the digestive track.  This disease is caused by an accumulation of white blood cells in areas of the digestive system from the mouth to the anus, though typically it appears in the small intestine, and this abundance of white blood cells causes inflammation, as white blood cells – or leukocytes – come together to fight infection.  The reason for their accumulation is still undetermined for certain, though many doctors believe it is due to the inherited immune system identifying food and necessary bacteria in the body as an infection, causing the swelling and abdominal pain (National Institutes of Health).  The Department of Gastroenterology in Cambridge, UK, published a study that showed successful results in simply altering the diet of sufferer’s of Crohn’s Disease.  Dr. Middleton shared that after changing the diet of a patient from foods with dyes and MSG, to liquid diets with specific inclusions of amino acids and vitamins and minerals, that the patient showed “dramatic improvement within two days” (Middleton 143).  While other methods of treating this disease include medication through injections and sometimes even surgery, there is no known cure.  Injections are typically a cocktail of steroids and cell production inhibitors to reduce the inflammation and prevent re-growth of cells in the area.  (Clark et al 1793).  Surgery is typically a last resort, as it is not a permanent treatment; the most common method being resection, which involves removing the worst part of diseased intestinal tissue and reconnecting the surrounding tissues through a laparoscopic surgical method (Mayo Clinic).

The 1934 Nobel Prize winner for Medicine from the University of Rochester was the first individual to document another disease that attacks the small intestine, Whipple’s Disease, named after that same winner, George H. Whipple (The Nobel Foundation).  While Whipple’s Disease in its advanced stages can attack every system within the body, it begins within the digestive system with the thickening of the tissues of the small intestine preventing the natural processing of a specific and common bacterium, known as Tropheryma whippelii.  When it enters the digestive system, it destroys the villi within the intestine that absorbs nutrients from food (Madison’s Foundation).  Due to the lack of nutrients, multiple systems and organs within the body fail to receive the nourishment they need and eventually problems such as joint pains and inflammation of the joints can occur; as can pericarditis, persistent and chronic coughing, skin discolouration, memory loss and dementia, and even death (NDDIC).  There is a high risk for missed and misdiagnosis of this disease, mostly because many of the side effects can occur without ever presenting first within the digestive system.  Through anti-biotic treatments given heavily for sometimes as long as one year, doctors have been successful in clearing the current infections, but the damage done is often irreparable.  And there is a fairly high rate of the infection recurring, 35%, as the digestive system does not appear to process this bacteria properly (Selhorst et al).

Polycystic kidney disease can occur when a child is born with cysts inside both kidneys and effects over half a million people in the United States alone, based on 2007 statistics.  Naturally occurring nephrons within the kidneys can sometimes form lumps or cysts that eventually separate themselves from the nephron and grow independently.  A kidney filled with cysts can weigh up to thirty pounds (NKUDIC).  Contrast that with the average adult kidney weighing only one quarter of a pound (Hawley 1).  This disorder typically advances to end-stage renal disease, but along the way it can lead to hypertension, preeclampsia in pregnant women, aneurysms and diverticulitis.  With this condition, doctors very rarely work on the root of the problem, the cysts within the kidneys, but instead will manage and treat the symptoms as there is no cure or treatment for the cysts themselves (PKD Foundation).  Most of the side effects of polycystic kidney disease are monitored for worsening and then managed through a controlled diet of low salt, proteins and cholesterol, with medicine prescribed for pain (Mayo Clinic).

Each of these conditions can present symptoms outside of the digestive system and risk a wrong diagnosis as a result.  Through studying these I see even more cause for an individual who is ailing to keep track of each abnormal condition they go through, no matter how minute or irrelevant it may seem and even more importantly that medical professionals be certain to document each abnormality the patient discloses and to be mindful to inquire about ones they may have overlooked.  By being able to look at a combination of symptoms, such as diarrhea and joint pain and high blood pressure, the doctor may be less likely to focus only on potential arthritic causes of the joint pain.

Work Cited

Cameron, E. AB, and S. J. Middleton. “Elemental Diet in the Treatment of Orofacial Crohn’s Disease.” International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 52.1 (2003): 143-43. Print.

Clark, Colleen A., Bella H. Mehta, Maria C. Pruchnicki, and Jennifer L. Rodis. “The Pharmacist’s Role in Teaching Methotrexate Injection for Patients with Crohn‘s Disease.” American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy 63.19 (2006): 1792-794. Print.

“Crohn’s Disease.” Mayo Clinic. Ed. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Mon. 15 Mar. 2010. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/crohns/treatment.html&gt;.

Hawley, Marguerite A. “Normal and Abnormal Kidney Function.” The Kidney Transplant/Dialysis Association Patient Handbook: 1-1. Print.

“Nobel Prizes in Medicine.” Ed. The Nobel Foundation. The Nobel Foundation. Mon. 15 Mar. 2010. <nobelprize.org>.

“Polycystic Kidney Disease.” Mayo Clinic. Ed. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2 July 2009. Mon. 14 Mar. 2010. < http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/polycystic-kidney-disease >.

“Polycystic Kidney Disease.” National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. National Institutes of Health, Nov. 2007. Tues. 16 Mar. 2010. <http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov&gt;.

Selhorst, John B., and Ajitesh Rai. “Whipple’s Disease.” Neurology Medlink. Medlink Corporation, 28 Apr. 2007. Tues. 16 Mar. 2010. <www.medlink.com>.

“The Science of PKD.” PKD Foundation. The PKD Foundation, 2009. Tues. 16 Mar. 2010. <www.pkdcure.org>.

USA. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Gastroenterology. By E. V. Loftus, M. D. Silverstein, W. J. Sandborn, W. J. Tremaine, W. S. Harmsen, and A. R. Zinsmeister. Vol. 114. Digestive Diseases Statistics. National Institutes of Health, Dec. 2005. Mon. 15 Mar. 2010. <http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/&gt;.

“Whipple’s Disease.” Madison’s Foundation. Madison’s Foundation, 2010. Tues. 16 Mar. 2010. <http://www.madisonsfoundation.org&gt;.

“Whipple’s Disease.” National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. National Institutes of Health, Aug. 2009. Tues. 16 Mar. 2010. <http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov&gt;.

problem, the cysts within the kidneys, but instead will manage and treat the symptoms as there is no cure or treatment for the cysts themselves (PKD Foundation).  Most of the side effects of polycystic kidney disease are monitored for worsening and then managed through a controlled diet of low salt, proteins and cholesterol, with medicine prescribed for pain (Mayo Clinic).

Each of these conditions can present symptoms outside of the digestive system and risk a wrong diagnosis as a result.  Through studying these I see even more cause for an individual who is ailing to keep track of each abnormal condition they go through, no matter how minute or irrelevant it may seem and even more importantly that medical professionals be certain to document each abnormality the patient discloses and to be mindful to inquire about ones they may have overlooked.  By being able to look at a combination of symptoms, such as diarrhea and joint pain and high blood pressure, the doctor may be less likely to focus only on potential arthritic causes of the joint pain.

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9 responses

20 05 2010
Brian

My dad almost died last month from having a backed up colon and we’ve been researching a lot about it, good info you got here. Tks

20 05 2010
protogere

I’m glad you found some information for your search. I hope his health improves.

22 05 2010
Werner

I suffered from divertiulitis and let me tell you, there is nothing worse than the pain from that. One thing I’ll say is if you get constipated for more than a few days, get checked!

5 06 2010
LFT

Why don’t you cover Syringomyelia?

19 06 2010
Koln

Incredible story

15 07 2010
protogere

LoL Thanks – I think

9 11 2010
brockisrojas

Homeopathic medication is mostly a all-natural form of therapeutic!

10 11 2010
brockisrojas

Homeopathic medication is usually a normal type of healing!

15 02 2011
john3

*WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more .. …

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