Crohn’s disease life expectancy

Will Crohn’s Disease Affect My Life Span?

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It can be scary to learn that you have any kind of chronic disease. But if you’ve been diagnosed with Crohn’s, know this: With the right treatment and medication, you can expect to live a long, full life.

Thanks to “better treatment, surgery, and use of medications,” says Ashwin Ananthakrishnan, MPH, a gastroenterologist with the Massachusetts General Hospital Digestive Healthcare Center’s Crohn’s and Colitis Center in Boston, “it’s very rare for people to die of Crohn’s today.”

While there’s still no cure for Crohn’s disease, you can manage your symptoms by taking medication. What’s more, the current treatments for Crohn’s disease are less likely to cause side effects than the ones used in the past.

For example: Doctors don’t use steroids over the long term as much as they once did, says Ananthakrishnan. These medications can trigger serious side effects like bone loss and cataracts over time, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCFA). Here’s what you can expect instead.

Preventing Complications of Crohn’s Disease

Managing your Crohn’s and preventing serious complications are possible if you take the right steps. This includes sticking to your treatment plan and making healthy lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking.

The people who are most at risk for serious complications are those who smoke and those who are not getting proper treatment for inflammation, says Ananthakrishnan. “People with poorly controlled Crohn’s wind up with a lot of bowel damage and repeated, resistant, or undertreated inflammation,” he says. Plus, letting your Crohn’s disease go untreated can also cause nutritional deficiencies, he says.

It’s also worth noting that people with inflammatory bowel disease can be three times more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot that forms in a vein, usually in the legs) or pulmonary embolism (a blockage in the lung arteries), especially when they’re hospitalized, according to the CCFA. Always make sure your doctors are aware that you have Crohn’s disease; in some cases, you may receive a blood thinner to lower your risk of clotting.

Another way to ward off serious complications is with preventative screenings, including a colonoscopy.

People with Crohn’s have a higher risk of colorectal cancer than that the general population — especially if they’ve had the disease for 8 to 10 years. Still, according to the CCFA, colorectal cancer is highly treatable if it’s caught early.

The bottom line: It’s important to keep your Crohn’s in check by getting the recommended blood tests, MRIs, CT scans, and colonoscopies — even if you’re symptom-free. “People are most concerned about how they feel,” says Ananthakrishnan. But even if you don’t have symptoms, he says, you can have “simmering” inflammation that still needs to be treated.

What is the Life Expectancy with Crohn’s Disease?

What’s the life expectancy of someone with Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that can include serious complications. Here, we look at Crohn’s disease life expectancy.

When someone has Crohn’s disease, the lining of the digestive system is inflamed. This inflammation can begin from the mouth but is commonly associated with the last section of the small intestine or the large intestine. Suffering from Crohn’s disease can mean that a person experiences diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloody stools, fatigue, and weight loss. Unfortunately, Crohn’s disease can lead to life-threatening complications. This is why many people wonder about life expectancy with Crohn’s disease.

People who suffer from this debilitating condition can sometimes go long periods of time without any symptoms or with really mild symptoms. However, this remission period can be followed by periods of severe flare-ups.

What is the life expectancy of someone with Crohn’s disease?

There is no known cure for this disease. Various therapies help reduce the symptoms and allow people to function better. Crohn’s disease impacts a great number of young people – usually those in their twenties. Life expectancy with Crohn’s disease should not be a concern. This disease doesn’t directly affect life expectancy.

There have been a lot of advances in the diagnosis and treatment of Crohn’s. What people do have to consider though is Crohn’s disease life expectancy without treatment. In the 1950s, a severe attack of Crohn’s disease meant a 30 to 60 percent risk of death, but that risk is now three percent when a patient follows a proper treatment plan. These treatments include everything from prescription medications to natural treatments, diet, exercise, as well as stress control techniques.

It can be challenging to live with Crohn’s, but when patients control their symptoms with treatments, they can expect to live a long life. Staying on top of symptoms, communicating with a healthcare professional, and maintaining good treatment can help keep complications under control, including complications that are life-threatening. These complications can be as simple as a side effect due to the type of medication that is being taken.

Specific Crohn’s disease complications are outlined below, but it is prudent that we first address a common misconception about this chronic inflammatory condition. Many people seem to think that Crohn’s disease will eventually lead to cancer. However, research shows that more than 90 percent of people who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease will never get cancer. It is important to know that those who have IBD do have a greater risk of colon cancer than those who do not have this health condition. People who have Crohn’s disease in the small intestine are at risk of small bowel cancer, although this type of cancer is rather rare. As a precautionary measure, anyone who suffers from Crohn’s disease should see a gastroenterologist on a regular basis for testing of any kind of intestinal cancer.

Some people who suffer from Crohn’s disease do require surgery and while some estimate it to be in the 70 percent range, this is often after many years of having the condition. As with any surgery, of course, there can be risks.

Read full article: What is the Life Expectancy with Crohn’s Disease?

Read Full Article: What is the Life Expectancy with Crohn’s Disease?

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Increased mortality in children with inflammatory bowel disease

The researchers identified patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease between the years 1964 and 2014 via the Swedish patient register. Using these data, they compared mortality rates in about 9,400 children who developed IBD with those of other children.

Their results show that children who developed IBD before the age of 18 have a three to five-fold higher mortality rate than people without IBD, both during childhood and into adulthood. This translates to a 2.2-year reduction in life expectancy in individuals monitored up to the age of 65.

“It should be remembered that we’re talking small differences in number of deaths,” explains lead author Ola Olén, consultant and researcher at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Medicine in Solna. “Most young people with IBD do not die earlier than their peers, but a few individuals with a severe case of IBD and serious complications such as cancer greatly elevate the relative risk.”

The most common cause of death was cancer, while fatalities due to IBD itself accounted for the largest relative increase in mortality.

“Individuals who are diagnosed in childhood need to be monitored carefully,” says Dr Olén. “Those who might especially benefit from being closely monitored to avoid fatal intestinal cancer are children with ulcerative colitis, who also have the chronic liver disease primary sclerosing cholangitis.”

IBD in adults has previously been linked to shortened life expectancy. IBD is often thought to have a more aggressive disease course in children than in adults and has been associated with several types of cancer. However, it has been unclear how life expectancy is affected by childhood-onset IBD and if the mortality rate has changed since the introduction of modern drugs.

“IBD therapy has improved greatly since the 1960s,” says Dr Olén. “For one thing, we often now use new types of immunomodulating drugs. However, we couldn’t see that mortality rates have gone down since their introduction.”

Crohn’s / Ulcerative Colitis Life Expectancy

When you receive a diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease, one of the many questions you may ask is about life expectancy.

Does suffering from a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) mean that your life expectancy is going to be lower?

In this guide, we’ll look at this some more, and hopefully provide you with actionable, helpful advice on how to stay healthy for as long as possible…

What is the life expectancy for a person who has Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis?

Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis are not a life-threatening illnesses in themselves, but are life-long condition that needs to be managed.

In general, the majority of sufferers will actually have a similar length life expectancy to someone without the disease.

That said, life expectancy can be impacted by complications associated with IBD. The risk of this type of complication is highest during the first few years after diagnosis, if you have a severe form of the disease or are aged over 50. Smokers and those people who let their symptoms go untreated for a long time are also at increased risk.

One study that looked into life expectancy specifically for people with Ulcerative Colitis was carried out in Denmark in the 1990s. The study reviewed 1,160 people who were diagnosed with UC between 1962 and 1987, and was followed-up until 1997. It found that the average life expectancy was 74 for women and 70 for men (not vastly different to what might be expected) but 25 (9.6%) of the deaths during that time were associated with complications linked to the disease.

Another study (from Karolinska Institutet published in the journal Gastroenterology) showed that children with Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis have an increased risk of death, both in childhood and later in life. The results showed that people who develop IBD before the age of 18 have a three to five-fold higher mortality rate than people without IBD which translated to a 2.2-year reduction in life expectancy.

What are the complications associated with inflammatory bowel diseases that may affect life expectancy?

Complications with Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease tend to be linked to the inflammation and damage to the bowel wall that are a key symptom of the diseases. For example, the inflammation can cause scar tissue within the intestines which then causes a blockage. This can cause issues with the whole of the digestive system.

Toxic megacolon is one major complication possible in someone with IBD. This is when the colon is so swollen that it ruptures. There is a risk of death between 19 and 45% when a toxic megacolon occurs, with the risk being higher when the ruptured intestine is not treated immediately.

There is a slightly higher risk of colorectal cancer in people with Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, being 5-8% rather than 3-6% in those without the disease. The chronic use of certain types of medication may affect the risk of cancer. The cancer usually develops within 20 years of the diagnosis. Colorectal cancer can be treated, but it can be fatal if it moves into other parts of the body.

Peritonitis is another complication that can also be very dangerous. This is when a hole in the bowel causes intestinal bacteria to enter the abdomen and cause infection.

Other complications which may be experienced include infections and malnutrition.

What can I do to increase my life expectancy when living with Crohn’s / Ulcerative Colitis?

As with any major disease or condition, getting the right treatment plan is the key to living the longest life possible…

Medical Treatment

Obviously it’s important that you first work with your doctor to establish what they consider to be the right treatment plan for you and your situation. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, it may be that you do not need much medication and can manage through lifestyle changes alone. Any medication that they do recommend will likely be targeted at minimising inflammation and / or suppressing the immune system. At some point surgery may also be recommended.

Whilst these approaches don’t cure the disease, and don’t even really address the underlying causes of the inflammation / symptoms, they may certainly be necessary, at least for a period of time, and can obviously help to reduce the chances of complications – thereby potentially helping with life expectancy.


Whilst many doctors will advise that diet doesn’t play a part in inflammatory bowel disease, there is no doubt that certain foods can aggravate symptoms (and increase inflammation), whilst other foods can help to nourish the body and help it to heal. Diet isn’t a cure, but the right diet for someone can only be beneficial for their health, their symptoms, and their overall life expectancy. In anyone (whether they have IBD or not) a diet high in poor quality, processed foods, will reduce life expectancy versus someone who has a diet high in good quality, nutritious, unprocessed foods, that give the body what it needs. Whilst that applies to everyone, the difference is almost certainly more profound in someone with IBD, where exacerbation of inflammation can lead to complications, and where nutrient deficiencies are much more prevalent.

Other Factors

Aside from medication, surgery and diet, other factors that can affect the health of someone with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis (and therefore may help to minimise the risk of complications that could affect life expectancy) include managing stress, minimising toxin exposure (including exposure to heavy metals, moulds, chemicals, etc), improving sleep quality, appropriately managing activity levels, and working to identify and address underlying infections, bacterial issues, yeast / candida issues, nutrient deficiencies, digestive function and more.


As a summary, in general, if managed appropriately, then Crohn’s / Ulcerative Colitis doesn’t appear to have a significant impact on life expectancy, but those who experience complications with the disease, as well as those who develop IBD earlier on in life, may find that life span is impacted.

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