Whipple’s disease (or Whipple disease) is a bacterial infection that affects your digestive system. It makes it harder for your body to get the necessary nutrients from the food and drinks in your diet. It’s a rare condition caused by a type of bacteria found in soil and water. Anyone can get Whipple’s disease at any age, but most cases happen in males over 50. This article will explain what causes Whipple’s Disease, its symptoms, and its treatment.
How Your Digestive System Works
To better understand Whipple’s disease, you need to learn how the digestive system works.
Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract includes the stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum, and anus. The entire digestive system also includes the pancreas, gallbladder, and liver. Your GI system processes what you eat and drink, then eliminates the waste products. Other organs absorb the nutrients used throughout your body for growth, energy, and good health.
The organs that make up the GI tract are hollow and connect to each other to form a long winding tube that starts at your mouth and continues to the anus at the bottom. Whipple’s disease starts in the small intestine. It’s very long, about 22 feet, and uses healthy bacteria that normally live inside it to digest food and drinks from your daily diet.
Whipple’s disease is caused by bacteria that damage your intestine and make it harder to absorb nutrients that would normally be digested. When Whipple disease causes diarrhea, weakness and weight loss often follow. Eventually, your heart and other organs can be affected.
What Are the Symptoms of Whipple’s Disease?
Whipple’s disease symptoms aren’t usually noticed immediately after infection, and sometimes they take years to develop.
Whipple’s disease can affect several parts of the body:
Common Symptoms include:
- Difficulty absorbing food and nutrients from intestines [not sure this is a symptom. Gas? Cramping?]
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Joint pain or stiffness, usually in larger areas, like the knees
- Stomach pain after eating
Other Symptoms and signs of Whipple’s Disease:
- Chest pain
- Fluid retention in the chest
- Skin darkening in areas exposed to sunlight
- Vision changes
- Memory problems
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies (vitamins D and K, calcium, and magnesium)
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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