Crohn’s Disease: My Forever Friend?

You don’t look sick.” -CBS NEWS

Growing up with Crohn’s disease has made conscious of how unaware people are about the impact Crohn’s has on day to day living. In seventh grade I experienced severe physical anxiety and had a difficult time sitting and standing in place. I was afraid of what this might mean and avoided talking to my parents until the anxiety became so extreme that my whole body felt weak. Other symptoms in my particular case included lack of appetite, extreme weight loss, erratic sleeping patterns, and general fatigue. Immediately I sought medical help and received everything from emergency surgeries to highly potent medications. For me, ongoing treatment keeps me from feeling my symptoms but doesn't achieve remission. Monitoring my diet and stress level is critical to keeping a healthy body and a healthy mental outlook on my life with Crohn’s.

People around me I come in contact with may not realize I have Crohn’s because it’s not something you can see, it’s buried deep inside. Because this sickness isn't visible people often dismiss the severity and lose sight of the burden those with Crohn’s carry. Since it isn't something directly affecting them they don’t see it as a problem and therefore don’t seek a solution. There is an opportunity for social media platforms such as Twitter to educate our society on the urgency for a cure, however, many medical information outlets repeat facts rather than promoting constructive collaboration. They merely exist to tell us what we already know and inform us on the next event relating to Crohn’s.

According to only 1 in every 544 people in the US have Crohn’s disease which shows why people don’t feel that it is an immediate problem that needs solving. Although this statistic may seem low the number is steadily growing. Every person in the US knows somebody with Crohn’s, whether they realize it or not. Because of the lack of urgency and care about this disease people tend to group it with similar diseases such as Colitis, which is similar to Crohn’s but occurs higher up in the large intestine and has its own set of symptoms.

There is a growing need for the leading professionals in the field to share updates on advancements. This could be possible through Twitter. Crohn’s patients are not receiving what they really need through social media, and therefore end up either uneducated on their disease or receive education from their one doctor. What they should be receiving is information from a network of leading professionals and other Crohn’s developers who aim to cure the disease.

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