How Common Is Crohn’s Disease in Children?
While the number of cases of Crohn’s disease in children or ulcerative colitis is relatively rare particularly the ones under 15 years of age, the number of Crohn’s cases in children in the age group, 15 to 19 years old appears to be increasing. In this adolescent group, 16 out of 100,000 are expected to show signs of Crohn’s disease. Comparatively, only 2 or 3 cases out of 100,000 pediatric children younger than 15 years old develop this disease. Comparatively, ulcerative colitis is even more rare in children and adolescents than Crohn’s disease, with 2 to 10 cases found out of a group 100,000. Similar to Crohn’s disease, the teenage years are one of the stages in life when ulcerative colitis is likely to be diagnosed. The other most likely period of time for this disease to show up is the decade from 30 to 40 years old.
Research indicates a genetic component associated with the onset of both diseases. Certain families have a much higher incidence of either Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. Comprehensive studies covering large numbers of people and families, including extended families, were followed for a thirty year period where one family member developed one of these two diseases. What the study uncovered was a one in three chance that a relative of someone suffering from either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis would develop the same disease, meaning that relatives of a person suffering from Crohn’s has a one in three chance of developing Crohn’s. Similar connections were reported for ulcerative colitis, with about a one in three chance for relatives to develop this ulcerative colitis.
Scientific findings also report that specific ethnic groups also share a higher risk for these two medical complications. Jewish people of eastern European descent appear to be at high risk as a group. The fact that neither Crohn’s disease nor ulcerative colitis is contagious is noteworthy. Medical pediatric researchers believe that the origins of these two diseases are likely genetic, explaining the higher probability of certain families displaying a strong predisposition for contracting either Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. With growing numbers of people suffering from these diseases, research is expected to continue for a better understanding of how to treat and prevent these conditions.