A source familiar with President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical treatment in London has revealed to SaharaReporters that, apart from a lingering prostrate flare-up and other chronic conditions, the Nigerian leader has also recently been battling with a persistent “internal organ” problem, a fact this website reported on Sunday.
The source attributed President Buhari’s inability to eat as well as his progressive loss of weight to Crohn’s Disease, a medical condition that has affected his digestive system.
According to the source, Mr. Buhari had had parts of his colon removed in 2013 and also had another operation to have hemorrhoids, swollen veins near the human rectum, removed in 2016 in London during one of his secret trips to seek urgent medical treatment.
The latest revelation appears to validate a claim by Mr. Buhari’s wife, Aisha Buhari, to the effect that her husband was dealing with “internal organ failure.”
In interviews, several doctors in Nigeria and the UK told Saharareporters that the fact that Mr. Buhari was an outpatient indicated a condition consistent with Crohn’s disease. Two of the doctors stated that it was likely that President Buhari’s course of treatment for his prostrate and other issues led to a complication and worsening of his Crohn’s disease. SaharaReporters had reported that Mr. Buhari also has prostate cancer that was first treated by UK doctors shortly after the Nigerian leader lost the 2011 presidential election to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, leading to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by the disease can affect different areas of the digestive tract in different patients, but doctors interviewed for this report disclosed that it usually occurs in the intestines, where the inflammation caused by Crohn's disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue.
Doctors also revealed that Crohn's disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications. “When it occurs in younger people, there is a higher chance of future complications than in older patients,” one doctor told our correspondent. He added that the disease “often worsens with age.”
According to the doctors consulted for this report, while there is no known cure for Crohn's disease, palliative therapies can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission. Some of the doctors stressed that, with proper treatment and management, many patients with Crohn's disease are able to function well.
The doctors stated that the cause of Crohn's disease is largely unknown. However, one doctor said the condition was likely due to an abnormal response of the immune system. Food or bacteria in the intestines, or even the lining of the bowel, may cause the uncontrolled inflammation associated with Crohn's disease.
The doctors disclosed that the inheritance pattern of Crohn’s disease was also unclear, noting that several genetic and environmental factors are often at play in the occurrence of the disease. According to one doctor, the condition tends to “cluster in families.” He explained that having an affected family member was deemed to constitute a significant risk factor for the disease.