November 26, 2014
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Crohn's & Colitis

 Health Home >> Crohn's & Colitis >> Crohn's disease - What you need to know 


Am I at risk of Crohn's disease?

The exact cause of Crohn's disease is still not well understood. But researchers believe it is most likely caused by several factors, which include:

  • your immune system: The body's defence system reacts abnormally, mistaking environmental factors such as bacteria, foods, and other substances for being foreign. The immune system then attacks these substances, causing white blood cells to gather in the lining of the digestive system. This results in inflammation, which causes ulceration and injury to the digestive system lining.
  • your inherited genes: People have a higher risk of Crohn's disease if they have a close relative with the disease.
  • your environment: Crohn's disease is more prevalent in northern climates in developed areas of the world (e.g., North America, northern Europe). It is thought that some environmental factors may play a role in triggering inflammation.

Could you be at risk? Although anyone can develop Crohn's disease, there are a few things that can increase your risk:

  • family history: Crohn's disease tends to run in families. If you have a relative with Crohn's disease, your risk is increased.
  • race: Caucasians, especially Ashkenazi Jews of European descent, are at a higher risk of Crohn's disease.
  • location: The risk of Crohn's disease is highest in North America and northern Europe.
  • smoking: Smokers are at a higher risk of Crohn's disease.

If you're concerned about your risk of Crohn's disease, speak with your doctor. Your doctor can refer you to a gastroenterologist (a doctor who specializes in the digestive system).

Doctor Discussion Guide Treatment Plan Things you should know

Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.

Ad

The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on. Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s). This site is not a substitute for medical advice.

© 1996 - 2014 MediResource Inc. - MediResource reaches millions of Canadians each year.