Is Crohn’s disease a hereditary condition?

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the intestines. Researchers aren’t sure why certain people develop Crohn’s disease, but genetic factors seem to play a part.

Crohn’s disease is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that induces chronic inflammation and thickening of the intestine lining. Any portion of the gastrointestinal tract may be affected.

The role of genetics in Crohn’s disease is investigated in this article.

How is Crohn’s disease genetic?

Genetic testing

Crohn’s disease tends to have a genetic component in some cases. Having a close relative with Crohn’s disease increases a person’s risk of developing the disease.

For example, about 20% of people with Crohn’s disease have a close relative who has IBD, such as a parent, brother, or sister.

Family links

If both parents have IBD, the chances of developing Crohn’s disease increase.

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, a child has a 7–9% chance of developing Crohn’s disease if one parent has it. If both parents have IBD, however, the risk rises to about 35 percent.

According to other research, if one twin has Crohn’s disease, the other twin has a 50% risk of developing the disease as well.

Genes

Researchers are also looking at how biology plays a role in the progression of Crohn’s disease. A person’s risk of developing IBD may be increased by a number of genes. More than 200 genes have been linked to this disease, according to research.

Some of these genes are recessive, meaning that only people who inherit two copies are affected. NOD2 mutations, for example, tend to be responsible for around 7–10% of early-onset Crohn’s disease.

Other specific genes that may play a role in the development of Crohn’s disease have also been discovered through research. ATG16L1, IRGM, and IL23R are three genes that aid in the production of proteins that affect the immune system’s function.

These genes’ variations or mutations can affect how intestinal cells react to bacteria. The disturbance may result in continuing inflammation, which may exacerbate Crohn’s disease symptoms.

Other causes

Crohn’s disease affects both men and women equally. While the disease can strike at any age, it is most prevalent in people between the ages of 20 and 30.

Other factors, in addition to genetics, can contribute to Crohn’s disease or increase the risk of developing it.

Environmental association

Certain factors can cause the immune system to respond abnormally, resulting in digestive tract inflammation.

Scientists believe that smoking and toxins are among the environmental causes, but further research is needed to confirm this.

An overactive immune system

The immune system of a person with Crohn’s disease may go into overdrive.

The immune system can confuse harmless gut bacteria for invaders and launch an attack to eliminate them. Crohn’s disease symptoms are caused by this reaction, which causes inflammation.

Testing options

Doctors may be able to use tests to assess if someone is at risk for Crohn’s disease. There are a variety of assessments to choose from.

Testing for genetic mutations

Genetic testing determines whether an individual has a gene mutation that could lead to Crohn’s disease.

However, just because someone has an inherited gene mutation does not mean they will develop Crohn’s disease. Their risk is only increased as a result of the gene.

Prenatal testing

Prenatal testing involves looking for a mutation in the NOD2 gene that increases the risk of Crohn’s disease in the foetus.

Pregnant women who have this gene’s mutation or who have a relative who has the mutation may be able to undergo prenatal testing.

Diagnosis

Doctors use a combination of tests and a physical exam to diagnose Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s disease symptoms can be similar to those of other types of IBD. As a result, ruling out other factors could be part of the diagnostic process.

A medical examination can involve a review of signs and symptoms to look for a pattern of flare-ups and to determine the frequency and severity of symptoms.

Doctors could also conduct a physical examination to search for stomach pain and other symptoms that may indicate the presence of another illness.

The following tests can be used to diagnose Crohn’s disease:

  • Blood tests: Low red blood cell levels and possible anaemia can be detected through blood tests. The sedimentation rate, which suggests the presence of inflammation in the body, is also checked during blood work.
  • Stool sample. Doctors may use a stool sample to diagnose infection and bleeding in the intestines.
  • Upper GI series. X-rays of the small bowel are used in an upper GI sequence to look for anomalies.
  • Colonoscopy. A doctor will insert a scope with an attached camera through the anus into the colon to provide a visual examination of the intestines during a colonoscopy. It aids the doctor in detecting intestinal bleeding or inflammation.
  • Enterography: A CT or MRI scan of the small bowel may be used by a doctor to look for symptoms of disease.

Symptoms

Crohn’s disease symptoms can vary in severity and frequency. Symptoms are normal, and they come and go.

Typical Crohn’s disease signs include:

  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • fever
  • rectal bleeding
  • unexplained weight loss

Some people experience symptoms that aren’t related to their intestines. Other parts of the body may show symptoms such as:

Outlook

Crohn’s disease may not have a cure at this time, but it is manageable.

Symptoms can differ in frequency and severity depending on the individual. Treatments and lifestyle changes, on the other hand, can help to reduce them.

Some people with the disease go into remission and don’t have any effects for years.

Conclusion

In the development of Crohn’s disease, genetics can play a role. Researchers have discovered many genes that may trigger immune system changes and make someone vulnerable to the disease.

Genetics, on the other hand, is not the only cause of the disease. Crohn’s disease is most likely caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors.

Sources

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