| 16th November 2016
What is it like to live with a chronic disease in your 20s? Never knowing when your disease will flare up, what the symptoms will be, or how severely you’ll suffer from them. On top of all this, little is known about your condition so there’s a lack of publicly available information. So, how do you deal with this?
In this article, Account Executive Victoria Morton explores what it’s like to live with Crohn’s disease as a young person and investigate what’s being done to tackle the gaps in treatment options for patients.
Not many people know exactly what Crohn’s disease is or how it’s caused. Crohn’s disease is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut. It affects approximately 1.3 million people worldwide. Once considered a rare disease in young people, it is now known to be one of the most important chronic diseases affecting children and adolescents. Although Crohn’s disease can start at any age, those diagnosed are commonly teenagers and young adults who are in the prime of life. On top of this, younger people are more likely to suffer from severe symptoms, and as the severity of symptoms worsen, the number and complexity of these symptoms also increases.
When you think of Crohn’s disease, you may think of rushing to the toilet, but the reality is very different. Patients can experience a variety of symptoms depending on where in the gut the disease is active, ranging from mild to severe. It’s also a very individual condition. The most common symptoms are not only diarrhoea, but also tiredness and fatigue, abdominal pain, mouth ulcers, anaemia, loss of appetite, and weight loss. In addition, patients with severe symptoms also suffer an increased range of features of their condition, such as intestinal inflammation. Symptoms are unpredictable and affect everyday living, significantly impacting on quality of life. Not something you want to be dealing with when you’re trying to study for exams or training for that big rugby game.
Our understanding of the causes of Crohn’s disease is improving. There isn’t one definitive cause of Crohn’s disease, and evidence suggests that a combination of inappropriate immune response, genetic susceptibility, and environmental risk factors (such as smoking and stress) may contribute to disease development (Gyires, 2014).
Despite progression in our knowledge of this condition, there is still a relatively poor understanding of this complex disease area, which inherently makes diagnosis even more difficult. Diagnosis can take up to three years due to delayed presentation of symptoms and misdiagnosis. This increases the time before patients can start managing their symptoms and begin to feel better.
| 22nd February 2017
Founded by Michael Seres in 2011, 11 Health is a connected medical device company currently working to change the lives of patients using stoma bags. Content Marketing Manager Liz Inskip interviews Michael about how patients are changing the role of the expert in healthcare, and the systematic barriers to innovation in healthcare.
| 14th February 2017
As a business that works with healthcare and pharma companies, it’s not often that we get the opportunity to design the cover for Time Out London, so we jumped at the chance to partner with Rays of Sunshine to help them get the word out about their #Kisses4Wishes campaign on Valentine’s Day. Liz Inskip talked with the creative team about the campaign and how BLH approaches this kind of work.
| 8th February 2017
When we talk about customers as experts in healthcare, what we’re really talking about are clinicians. Experts in diagnosis, treatment and clinical care (HCPs) and experts as those who experience the medical condition in their own personal context (patients). Head of Customer Experience Elisa del Galdo talks through how the evolution of the relationship between HCPs and patients is changing the role of the expert in healthcare.