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Whipple's disease is a rare infectious disease that typically infects the bowel, which makes the intestine unable to properly absorb nutrients. Due to malabsorption this disease primarily affects heart, lungs, brain, joints, and eyes. It affects the ability of body to absorb certain nutrients. Whipple's disease can usually be cured, if When recognized/diagnosed on time and treated properly. It can be fatal if left untreated.

Possible Complications due to whipple's disease:

  • Incomplete breakdown of carbohydrates or fats
  • Malfunctions of the immune system
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Reappearance of symptom
  • Weight loss

Alternative Name of Whipple's Disease is Intestinal lipodystrophy

Causes of Whipple's Disease
Whipple's disease is extremely rare, and risk factors are unknown.

  • It  is most likely caused by infection with bacteria called Tropheryma whippelii.
  • It affects primarily the middle-aged white men
  • Without treatment, it may be fatal

Signs & Symptoms of Whipple's Disease
Symptoms of Whipple's Disease are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Arthritis
  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Cramps and abdominal bloating
  • Dementia
  • Diarrhea
  • Edema
  • Enlarged lymph glands
  • Fatty stools
  • Fever
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Gray to brown skin coloration
  • Headache
  • Intestinal Bleeding
  • Joint pain
  • Lethargy
  • Malnutrition
  • Memory loss
  • Mental status changes
  • Muscle Pain and weakness
  • Weight loss

Diagnosis of Whipple's Disease
Whipple's disease is diagnosed through a tissue sample of the small intestine, or of an enlarged lymph node.

  • The diagnostic tests involved are endoscopy with small bowel biopsy and x-rays.
  • Complete blood count (CBC) showing anemia

Preventions of Whipple's Disease
Currently, there is no known way to prevent Whipple's disease.

Treatments of Whipple's Disease
Whipple's Disease can be treated by:

  • Antibiotics: Whipple's disease needs long-term antibiotic therapy to treat infections usually prescribed for a  period of 12 to 18 months Antibiotics will destroy the bacteria that cause it.. If symptoms come back during antibiotic use, the antibiotic or antibiotics may be changed. Those who have nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorption will need dietary supplements.
  • Vitamin supplements may also be given.
  • Fluid and electrolyte replacements will be needed in serious cases

When to seek Medical Advice
Call your health care provider if you have persistent abdominal pain and diarrhea.


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