What Causes Crohn's Disease?
There are many theories regarding Crohn's disease, but none has yet been proven. One theory suggests that some agent, perhaps a virus or bacteria, affects the body's immune system and triggers an inflammatory reaction in the intestinal wall.
Although there is a lot of evidence that patients with this disease have abnormalities of the immune system, it is not known whether the immune problems are a cause or a result of the disease.
Physicians believe that there is little proof that Crohn's disease is caused by emotional distress or by an unhappy childhood.
Commonly Affected Populations
Twenty percent of all cases of Crohn's disease affect children. Crohn's disease is seen in children as young as seven years old. Males and females are affected equally.
It appears to run in some families, with about 20 percent of people with Crohn's disease having a blood relative with some form of inflammatory bowel disease. In those who have a family history, it is very likely that Crohn's disease will begin in the teens and twenties.