Crohns / Asthma link

I was interested to read about this possible genetic tie-up between the two as there has been quite a few posters on the site with IBS and similar problems,ironically a woman on our shift who was always very sympathetic to my asthma related ""sob stories"" has recently been diagnosed with Crohns,someone on our shift died of it a few years ago-is it always ""terminal""??

4 Replies

  • Hi bluejam,

    Crohn's is a form of inflammatory bowel disease; it is quite different from (and more serious than) irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) although the two are often confused. Crohn's involves the development of ulcers and inflammation anywhere within the bowel, which can, in the worst cases, lead to strictures, blockages and even rupture of the bowel. Crohn's can often be managed with steroids and immunosuppressive drugs such as azathioprine, although severe cases and cases with the complications described above may require surgery.

    Crohn's is by no means always 'terminal' - in fact, these days it is very rare to die of it, and it can often be well controlled with medication. Having Crohn's for many years does put you at increased risk of bowel cancer, which can obviously be terminal if not picked up in the early stages, and most people with long-standing Crohn's have regular colonoscopies for that reason.

    My grandfather has had Crohn's for nearly fifty years, and is now in his 80s - he's been through pretty much every treatment available, including 17 years of steroid tablets, and his condition is now 'burnt out' and not active, although he still has quite a lot of symptoms due to scarring of his bowel and previous surgery. My mum also has ulcerative colitis, which is another related form of inflammatory bowel disease, which is interesting in terms of our family history of asthma and this newly discovered connnection.

    Hope this helps, it's an interesting topic

    Em H

  • My best friends dad had crohns, and spent a lot of time in hospital and seemed to be forever having surgery, but now 9 years later is leading a normal life and you would never know he had been that ill....although he did use his bed rest to complete an open university degree!

  • Good to hear that it isnt always terminal but Terry ,our shift colleague,was like a bag of bones just before he died and Jennifer,the woman who has just been diagnosed,makes Kate Moss (the ""model"") look fat!!-so I was a bit apprehensive for her-I think she is on Steroid treatments so maybe it will turn out ok in the long run-thanks for the info!

  • I was interested to read about the asthma/crohns link because i have both.

    I am very lucky with my crohns tho - i was very ill and almost lived in hospital and on steroids as a child but its been under control since i was 14 now - i'm 25! I am on 3 tablets a day and it doesn't bother me at all - just wish my asthma was that easy to control!


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