Crohn's Disease Risk Factors

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Monti, MD, MPHWritten by the Healthline Editorial Team on March 8, 2011

Risk factors for Crohn’s disease include:


While Crohn’s disease can occur at any age, young adults and teenagers are most often diagnosed with the condition. Most diagnoses are made between the ages of 15 and 35, with a second peak after age 50.


Caucasians have the highest rate of diagnosis, but it can affect any ethnic group. In fact, diagnosis in African American populations is increasing. People of Eastern European Jewish (Ashkenazi) decent are at a higher risk too.

Family History

If a close relative—such as a sibling or parent—has Crohn’s disease, your risk of developing the disease is estimated to be at least 10 times that of a person without a familial connection. In fact, studies have shown that 20 to 25 percent of people with Crohn’s disease have a relative with either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. If the person with Crohn’s disease is a sibling, your risk for developing it is about 30 times greater than a person whose sibling does not have Crohn’s disease.


People living in an urban area or in an industrialized country are at a greater risk of developing Crohn’s disease. For this reason, it’s thought environmental factors may play a role. People living in more northern climates also seem to have an increased risk.

Acne Treatment

Isotretinoin (Accutaine) is a medication used to treat cystic acne. Although the research behind this theory hasn’t found a strong connection, there are anecdotal reports of a connection between use of Accutane and the development of IBD. However, larger studies of this hypothesis have found no connection between use of Accutane and the development of IBD.

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