Causes of Crohn’s Disease

Researchers have not yet identified the cause of Crohn’s disease, so it is described as an “idiopathic” disease. It is known that inflammation is part of the body’s immune response, and an immune response is usually triggered by something. But to date no specific “trigger” has been found to cause the inflammatory response seen in Crohn’s disease.

There is some evidence that Crohn’s disease has a genetic component. While there is no simple correlation from parent(s) to offspring, the disease tends to “run” in families. As many as 20 to 25 percent of patients with Crohn’s disease have a relative with CD or ulcerative colitis. There is also a higher incidence among certain ethnic groups.

In addition, some possible environmental factors have been linked to initial episodes or relapses. Crohn’s disease appears to be a disease that primarily affects those living in Western, industrialized societies. Whether this is due to some condition of the environment in which people live or their diet has not been determined.

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