At Dugan & Associates, we're not just concerned with your personal injury or workers' compensation case. We have a passion for helping all members of our community impacted by health problems, including chronic disease. On June 10th, we will be helping support the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation through the Take Steps Walk at Hartwood Acres. The Walk raises funds to research these two diseases, which affect 1 in 200 Americans. Giving to this cause means you are supporting patients and their families as they deal with chronic illness.
What is Crohn's Disease?
Crohn's disease was first identified in 1932 by Drs. Leon Ginzburg, Gordon D. Oppenheimer, and Burrill B. Crohn, for whom it was named. The disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, part of the family of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, it most commonly affects the small intestine and colon.
Symptoms of Crohn's include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, constipation, and cramps/pain. It may also be accompanied by fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, and night sweats. Symptoms may come and go as the patient experiences flare-ups and remissions.
Crohn's disease affects about 780,000 Americans, and it is most common in young people between the ages of 15 and 35. While the exact causes are unknown, genetics and environment both play a role. The risk of developing Crohn's is much higher if you have a first-degree relative, like a parent, who has the disease.
What is Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is another IBD, like Crohn's disease, that affects the lining of the colon and causes sores or ulcers. While Crohn's can occur anywhere in the GI tract, colitis only affects the colon. Symptoms of colitis are similar to Crohn's, and are mild about half the time. Patients with the disease may have generally bloody stool, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
If you suffer from the symptoms of colitis, you are not alone. Studies show Colitis affects approximately 907,000 Americans. Research suggests that it may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection that triggers an unhealthy response from your body's immune system. This response causes inflammation that lasts long after the infection has passed. Most patients are diagnosed with colitis in their mid-30s, and while it does tend to run in families, the correlation is less direct than with Crohn's disease.
How Can I Help?
If you would like to get involved with supporting the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, the Take Steps Walk is a great way to start. You can sign up individually or as part of a team. The Foundation suggests asking friends and co-workers to donate $16 - representing the approximately 1.6 million Americans who suffer from these diseases.
The Pittsburgh Take Steps walk has a goal of raising $150,000. Everyone who raises at least $25 will receive a button marking the occasion, and there are more "thank you" gifts for anyone who raises more, starting at $100. However much you raise, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to fuel research and support patients and their families.
Come out on June 10th and join us in taking steps to end these chronic diseases!
Addition: Thanks to everyone who came out for the Take Steps Walk!