This is a guest post by Martha June Whitman.
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of the gastrointestinal tract. This condition can be a particularly difficult one to manage as common symptoms include chronic diarrhea, fever, weight loss, gallstones, and inflammation of the eyes or mouth.
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown other than the fact that 20% of all of those who develop it have a blood relative with some sort of inflammatory bowel disease. This adds to the evidence that genetics are a huge factor in one’s likelihood to develop the disease. While there have been treatments developed that help those with the disease live a normal life, initial treatment can be rough on the affected and it is often necessary for a family member or appropriate caregiver to lend a helping hand. Here are some tips to caring for someone who has recently been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and how you can make life easier on them as they learn to manage the condition:
Due to the disease’s effect on your digestive system, it is important to eat as healthily as possible. Make sure the affected eats a good amount of fiber. This will smoothen the digestion process and allow to them to better address bowel incontinence as fiber can serve as a healthy, natural laxative. It is especially important to eat healthy meals with the corticosteroids they will likely be prescribed to treat the disease because these medications have been known to add to the danger of bone loss and consequently the development of osteoporosis. Aim for at least 1500 mg of calcium per day as well as a healthy amount of vitamin D to maintain healthy bones. Yogurt is high in both of these nutrients and a lot easier to digest than most dairy products.
Home preparation for the affected one is important at the initial onset of the disease, especially if they are experiencing symptoms of vision loss, chronic diarrhea, or serious fever/fatigue. Do your best to make sure the house is clean and organized. Blurred vision and fatigue are especially dangerous for the elderly and can lead to dangerous falls if there are objects in their path that they can trip on. Incontinence products may be necessary if the person experiences chronic diarrhea. If they do not get around so easily or are physically handicapped these products can serve as a backup if they are unable to get to the bathroom on time. As mentioned above, make sure the affected is eating a healthy diet and has plenty of good food in the house at all times.
Constantly Monitor Their Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease are more private than others but they can be key signs to being able to tell if the disease is getting better or not. Ask the affected if they are experiencing bloody bowel release, night sweats, loss of appetite, or even loss of menstrual cycle. These symptoms are private and inquiring about them can seem invasive but it is necessary to be able to properly treat the disease and decide if more help from the doctor is needed.
Allow the Affected to Exercise Moderately but Never Alone
In addition to a healthy diet, exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on the symptoms of the disease. Maintaining good health and speeding up the metabolism can help combat the digestive problems and even relieve the depression that the disease can bring on in some individuals. Never let the affected exercise alone though. For their own safety, monitor them for signs of fatigue or any other uncommon symptoms. The last thing you want is an unfortunate accident to occur while jogging or in a public place of exercise.
Every year medical professionals are making more breakthroughs with Crohn’s disease but there is still no known cure. It is important for loved ones of the affected to help them through the difficult process of treating this disease as it can greatly affect their quality of life and become worse if not addressed properly. Given the personal and invasive nature of treating Crohn’s disease, those affected will usually prefer a loved one to look after them which makes it all the more important for those with a family history of inflammatory bowel disease to be prepared.
Author Bio: Martha June Whitman writes for National Incontinence, a leading supplier of tranquility briefs and other incontinence products. A former caregiver herself, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience of dealing with the tougher conditions that can afflict the elderly. When she’s not sharing her advice with other potential caregivers she enjoys spending time with her grandkids and her dog Burt.