Many moons ago, when this forum was young and we all knew each other by name and circumstance...
three years ago now....
this topic of how common CD is was thoroughly researched, and it was most illuminating.
Bear in mind that I suffer from bad brain fog, so my figures here may not be correct.
CD was first "discovered" in about
1938 I think it was, and written up in a paper by three doctors. Dr Crohn was the first author's name, so it was called Crohn's Disease - could've been Hasegawoto's Disease or something like that, one of the other docs had a name like that. Phew !
Originally, the average age of diagnosis was 33, and the spread of ages was relatively limited. There were no youngsters in their teens at all, and very few if any old people. The incidence was extremely low. Crohns was seen as similar to tuberculosus, but restricted to the gut.
Fast forward to the late nineties/early twenty first, and the scene is dramatically different.
We now know of Crohn's related problems with the skin, kidneys, gall bladder, lungs, eyes, joints....you name it. Very like tuberculosis, and adding weight to the idea that it is caused by a member of that bacterial family. But many if not virtually all doctors are pretty much ignorant of this; in the UK they totally ignore these symptoms when making a diagnosis. (I tend to have extra-intestinal symptoms, especially when I have a flare; these are dismissed, and my CD diagnosis is considered doubtful. Only GI findings are used.)
Scottish/Irish ancestry is now often considered a "sine qua non" (necessity) for having Crohn's Disease, the genes having originally come from a particular part of Ireland with the Celts.
There are infants
being diagnosed with Crohns, children and teenagers are now an accepted and regularly diagnosed part of the CD population, and old people who have had it all their lives, as well as those who have just developed problems, are now being diagnosed. If I remember correctly, the average age of diagnosis is now in the low 20s. Incidence, the last figure I heard was 600 000 in the USA alone, which would make it...well, you do the math, I wasn't kidding about
the brain fog !
Canada has if anything an even higher ratio of CD diagnoses, probably due to the very organised GI system they have; they actually have support groups for CD sufferers built into their therapy, can you imagine ? You get diagnosed, and you immediately get contacted by a support group, and get help with financial, work and school related issues !
Scotland, in particular the North East (that's me) and Tel Aviv in Israel, are the world capitals for Crohns Disease. This is reckoned to be because the genes that predispose towards it are particularly prevalent there. In my case, I must have Irish blood, that's where the Scots get them; in Israel, it is the Ashken*zi sect who have a particularly high incidence, no doubt due to religious tenets preventing dilution of genes. Kind of like the opposite of the Amish idea !
There's a theory that MAP, or something like it, is present in the soil of both Israel and North East Scotland, and that's why we have so many cases. But the more I read about
genes, and epigenetic changes (where inert genes get switched on by environmental triggers like infection or chemicals like pesticides, then the switched on genes get passed down to following generations) and the more I find out about
the chemicals we are surrounded by, the more I am convinced that it is very much started by a whole host of causes, some causing one permanent change and then others causing the actual real Crohns. Rather like the two step process that causes cancer.
I'm kind of lucky in Aberdeen. If I say to anyone local here, "I have Crohns", they always know what it is, usually because they already know someone who has it. Maybe a friend of a friend, but it is endemic here. But support is pretty thin on the ground, and the support groups are more about
raising funds for research as far as I can see. I don't know any Crohnies "in the flesh".
The Amish are extensively studied - I sometimes wonder how they manage to live, they must have so much blood drawn off ! - but I don't know of any research done on them regarding CD. As they mainly are descended from Germanic or Scandinavian stock, you wouldn't ecpect them to have the genes associated with CD and UC.
Oops, sorry guys, did I just write an essay ?