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Understanding IBD: Crohns and Colitis Awareness Week

As we enter Crohn's and colitis Awareness Week, it's time to shine a spotlight on the millions of individuals around the world bravely facing the challenges of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Running from December 1st to December 7th, this awareness week serves as a powerful platform to educate, advocate, and unite in the fight against Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

IBD is an umbrella term for conditions with chronic inflammation of tissues in the digestive tract. In Ohio, IBD qualifies as a medical condition under the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP). The two most common medical conditions under that umbrella are: Crohn's disease and Ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis specifically impacts the lining of the large intestine (colon), while Crohn's disease can affect any segment of the small or large intestine causing irritation not only to the lining but also to deeper layers. As these conditions affect the digestive system, they may lead to inflammation and a range of symptoms, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss. Due to this, IBD can significantly impact the quality of life for those affected, making awareness and support very important.

Facts about IBD
● Anyone can get IBD, with 1 in 100 Americans being affected by this condition and around 70,000 new patients being diagnosed each year.

● Men and women are equally likely to be affected by IBD

● Damaged areas of Crohn’s disease appear in patches that are next to areas of healthy tissue while damaged parts from Ulcerative colitis travel continuously

● While we don’t know the exact cause of IBD, it occurs because of a weakened immune system.

Crohn's and colitis Awareness Week plays a significant role in addressing the misconceptions surrounding IBD and fostering empathy and awareness for those living with these conditions. By highlighting the challenges faced by individuals with Crohn's and colitis, we can work towards breaking down stigmas, increasing understanding, and promoting a more inclusive and supportive society.