(ABC) -Imagine having a stomach ache that never seems to go away, or intestinal distress a dozen times or more a day. That's the harsh reality for anyone living with Crohn's disease, an inflammatory condition that can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract.
Zayna Gold is a mother, wife and long-time Pilate's instructor…and for much of her life, she's felt sick.
"I'd be in bed for a week and lose like 10 pounds in a week. I'd be so incredibly ill," Gold said.
Gold was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, a chronic, inflammatory condition of the bowels. Symptoms of Crohn's disease can be debilitating; they include abdominal pain, diarrhea and the passage of blood.
"Crohn's can be mild, and then it can be horrible. You can have 15-20 bowel movements a day. You can have blood profusely coming out with bowel movements, then severe abdominal pain," explained Dr. Scott Snapper, Brigham & Women's Hospital.
It's estimated that about 33,000 Americans are diagnosed with Crohn's disease every year. There is no cure, but new medications have made remission possible.
"Unfortunately, there's still a large subset of patients who do not respond to those treatments," Dr. Snapper said.
Gold says a combination of a healthy lifestyle, healthy diet and medicine seems to be working.
"I do have a chronic illness that has changed everything. My relationships, my lifestyle…everything has changed. But I can still lead a wonderful life. A busy, productive, positive life," Gold said.
In other health news, if you are thinking about having bariatric surgery or have already had the procedure, there will a support group meeting Thursday, March 3, at 4 p.m. in the Fieldstone Conference Room. You will hear about meal plans, recipes and how to manage life after the procedure. For more information, call 580-510-7042.