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Can You Die from Crohn’s Disease?

Ask a Doctor

I recently received a Crohn’s Disease Diagnosis and I’m worried. What’s the prognosis? Is Crohn’s disease fatal?

Doctor’s Response

Although Crohn's disease is a chronic illness with episodes of remission and relapses, appropriate medical and surgical therapies help affected individuals have a reasonable quality of life.
  • Crohn's disease usually has a chronic, slow course regardless of the site of involvement.
  • Medical therapy becomes less effective with time. Nearly two thirds of people with Crohn's disease require surgery for complications at some point in their disease.
  • The longer a person has Crohn's disease, the more likely they are to develop complications that can be fatal. Cancer of the digestive tract is the leading cause of death for people with Crohn's disease.
  • Crohn's disease frequently recurs after surgery.
Patients will need to visit their health-care professional regularly so that the patient's medical condition can be monitored, determine how well treatment is working, and check for relapse and return of symptoms. The intestinal complications of Crohn's disease include:

For more information, read our full medical article about Crohn's disease.

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Farrel, R.J., et al. "Overview of the medical management of mild to moderate Crohn's disease in adults." UpToDate. Updated: Jul 28, 2016.<https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-the-medical-management-of-mild-to-moderate-crohn-disease-in-adults>