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Taking control of Crohn's

Roughly 500,000 Americans are afflicted with Crohn_s. It touches virtually every aspect of life_from your relationships to how you function at work to your self-esteem. Complicating the picture is the fact that most people know little about the disease. Luckily, self-help measures, such as eating smart, minimizing stress and reaching out to other Crohn_s sufferers can ease the burden of the disease. Equally important is learning all you can about the condition, then sharing your knowledge with your loved ones so they know how best to support you.

Provided by HealthMonitor

Crohn's in a snapshot
Sometimes it helps just to know you are not alone'many people living with Crohn's struggle with the condition at times. According to a survey of 1,000 Crohn's patients:
" 50% say the disease has had a significant negative impact on their well-being
" 37% report having turned down a job or promotion due to Crohn's
" 60% have been hospitalized in the past two years due to symptoms
" 20% feel the need to avoid dating and other social interactions

Taking charge through diet
But living with the realities of Crohn's doesn't mean it has to control your life. Diet and lifestyle changes can reduce some of the impact of the disease. For some, certain foods can cause a flare'if you think this is the case, try eliminating the culprit from your diet and see if the flares lessen. For example, many find that restricting dairy or high-fat foods reduces symptoms. For others, fresh fruit, veggies and whole grains can be a problem due to their high fiber count.

Finding Zen
Stress also has a significant impact on Crohn's'an often slippery slope when symptoms of the disease cause stress, which leads to more intense symptoms. But fighting stress doesn't mean you have to become a yoga master. Instead try:
" Moving a bit. Even gentle exercise, like walking for 30 minutes, can offset tension and anxiety. Plus walking can help enhance bowel function, to boot!
" Talking it out. Turn to a friend, family member, spiritual adviser or healthcare provider if you're feeling overwhelmed by stress. Just expressing your fears out loud can put them in perspective.
" Trying alternatives. Biofeedback that electronically monitors your stress levels, acupuncture and guided meditation are all proven methods to manage stress.

Seeking support
Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone who understands. The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America offers an online support group at ccfacommunity.org , or visit the forum at crohns-forum.com, and learn even more tips and tricks for living a happier, healthier life.
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