People living with Crohn’s disease have an increased risk of developing other conditions. These may include colorectal cancer, asthma, and a number of autoimmune diseases.

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in a person’s digestive tract.

It most commonly affects the small intestine and the start of the large intestine.

This article discusses six examples of the conditions that commonly occur alongside Crohn’s disease.

IBD resources

Visit our dedicated hub for more research-backed information and in-depth resources on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

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Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

A person with Crohn’s disease may also develop:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with Crohn’s disease are more likely to have a number of other chronic diseases than those without Crohn’s disease.

Colorectal cancer is a disease that occurs when the cells in a person’s colon or rectum grow out of control. People may also refer to it as “colon cancer.”

A person may have colorectal cancer that displays no symptoms. However, some possible symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

If a person has Crohn’s disease in their large intestine, which includes the colon, they may have a higher chance of developing colorectal cancer.

This is because inflammation of the colon can cause the ongoing turnover of cells in a person’s colon lining. This can increase the chance that irregularities may occur, which can lead to cancer.

Cancer resources

To discover more evidence-based information and resources for cancer, visit our dedicated hub.

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CVD is the term for a number of health conditions that affect a person’s heart and blood vessels.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these conditions are the leading cause of death across the globe. Some forms of CVD include:

Symptoms for all of these conditions may vary. However, some potential symptoms of CVD include:

Research suggests that people with IBD are at an increased risk of developing CVD. This may be because chronic inflammation can play a role in the initiation and progression of CVDs.

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways in a person’s lungs. It can cause the airways to become inflamed and narrow, making it difficult for air to flow through them when exhaling.

Common symptoms of asthma include:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest tightness
  • wheezing
  • coughing, particularly during the night or in the early morning

According to a 2018 review and meta-analysis, IBD and asthma share genetic and environmental risk factors. The authors suggest that there may be an association between the conditions. However, further research into the possible link between IBD and asthma is necessary.

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes the body to make skin cells at a faster rate than usual. This can cause skin cells to pile up, forming spots or patches on a person’s skin.

Symptoms of psoriasis often come and go. During a flare-up, a person’s symptoms can become worse. When a person is in remission following treatment, their symptoms can go away entirely. Periods of remission may last from about 1–12 months.

Research suggests that there is a link between Crohn’s disease and psoriasis. There is a greater prevalence of IBD in people with psoriasis and, similarly, individuals with psoriasis are at an increased risk of developing IBD.

MS is a chronic neurological disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS).

If a person has MS, their immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin in the CNS. Myelin makes up the protective sheath that coats nerve fibers.

Symptoms of MS can be different from person to person, and how often and severely they affect someone can vary. Common symptoms include:

A 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis found that MS was more common in people with IBD than in people who did not have IBD.

RA occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells. This causes inflammation to develop, which leadsto the symptoms of RA.

The condition mainly affects a person’s joints, most commonly in the knees, hands, and wrists.

Common symptoms of RA include:

The symptoms are often present on both sides of a person’s body, such as both knees or hands.

A 2022 study suggests that living with IBD may increase a person’s risk of developing RA.

A person living with Crohn’s disease should speak with a healthcare professional if they experience new or worsening symptoms.

New symptoms may be a sign that another condition is present. A doctor can work out if someone has another underlying condition and suggest appropriate treatment.

Individuals with Crohn’s disease have an increased risk of developing a number of other conditions. These include colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, and psoriasis.

Symptoms vary considerably between different conditions and they may also overlap with symptoms of Crohn’s disease, in some cases.

A person should consider speaking with a doctor if they think they may be experiencing another condition alongside Crohn’s disease.