Written by Kimberly Holland
Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that causes severe intestinal inflammation. People who are diagnosed with the condition often experience symptoms like pain, diarrhea, and fatigue.
It’s unclear how many people live with this disease because it’s often underdiagnosed or not reported to doctors, but experts estimate up to 780,000 Americans have it.
While you’re more likely to develop Crohn’s disease if someone else in your family has the condition, anyone can be diagnosed with it. Crohn’s disease occurs in people both young and old, famous and unknown. Learn more about celebrities and notable people who’ve lived — and thrived — with Crohn’s disease.
1. Cynthia McFadden
Cynthia McFadden is NBC’s senior legal and investigative correspondent. Before joining NBC, she was an anchor and correspondent at ABC for 20 years.
Prior to her television journalism career, however, McFadden was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. During her sophomore year of college, the disease became increasingly troublesome and painful.
McFadden’s friends dubbed the new disease “George” so they could talk about her symptoms and illness more inconspicuously. “They weren’t going to say, ‘Did you have 15 diarrhea attacks today?’ So instead they’d ask me, ‘How’s George?’” McFadden said.
Shortly after graduating college, McFadden experienced internal bleeding. Treatment for that required surgery to remove 15 feet of intestine. Since that time, she’s lived without the disease and launched a highly successful career in journalism. “I decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to live my life around George,” she said.