Who gets Crohn's disease and how common is it?
Crohn's disease is not uncommon. Recent estimates suggest that up to 600,000 people in the United States alone are afflicted with Crohn's disease, evenly affecting males and females. It is more common in developed countries and is seen most commonly in North America and Western Europe. It also appears to be more common in urban rather than rural areas and in the northern rather than the southern areas. Although Crohn's disease can develop at any age, it most commonly presents between ages 20-30 years. One-quarter of patients present before the age of 20. Although less common, elderly patients can still develop Crohn's disease.
The disease does tend to run in certain families, and up to 20% of patients will have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) with the disease. Crohn's is more common among Caucasians, particularly Ashkenazi Jews, but is being identified more among Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans.