Thursday, September 19, 2019

Crohns in College Students :: Crohns Disease Health Essays

Crohn's in College Students Avi Michael absentmindedly plays with his lip piercing, his thin frame draped casually over his bed. His wall is covered with posters of Bob Dylan and Modest Mouse; two guitars are propped up on a stand next to his closet, another lies on the vacant bed across from his. â€Å"I want to be a rock star,† said Michael, a 20-year-old history and film major at Northeastern University, and front man for the band, The Sex and Murder. However, touring with his band would be difficult, Michael says. He suffers from Crohn’s disease, a chronic and often debilitating ailment that causes inflammation in the digestive system, primarily the large and small intestines. Symptoms include rapid weight loss, abdominal pain or cramping, and rectal bleeding. Michael was diagnosed as a senior in high school at the age of 18. â€Å"I was really sick for a while. It got to the point where I would get sick and throw up after everything I ate,† he said. As a result, he lost a lot of weight; at 5’8†, Michael weighs only 128 pounds. The average weight for a male of his height is closer to 160 pounds. Over 200,000 Americans suffer from Crohn’s, according to Dr. Richard Curtis, chief of gastroenterology at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Though the disease does not target a specific age group, certain risk factors do exist. People who have a genetic predisposition to it are more likely to develop Crohn’s, said Dr. Curtis. For example, people who have a close relative with Crohn’s have a 20 percent chance of being diagnosed with it themselves. Crohn’s is more common in Jews than in non-Jews; it is most common in Ashkenazic Jews than any other group. â€Å"Crohn’s is usually thought of as an old person’s disease,† said Michael. The harsh reality is that many Crohn’s sufferers are college-aged teens, many of whom were diagnosed as young children. Caitlin*, a 16-year-old sophomore at the Boston Latin School, was diagnosed at the age of 11. Trying to complete her schoolwork while maintaining her health is often difficult, Caitlin said. â€Å"When I feel good (almost all the time), Crohn’s doesn’t affect school at all,† she said in an e-mail. â€Å"It’s when I get so exhausted that I have to miss a day of school. I feel guilty missing school, and depending on the time of year, I get so much work the next day that I have to make up.

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