Whipple’s disease

A rare disorder, also called intestinal lipodystrophy, that can affect many organs. Symptoms include steatorrhoea as a result of malabsorption, abdominal pain, joint pains, progressive weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, anaemia, and fever. The heart, lungs, and brain can also be affected. The condition is most common in middle-aged men. The cause is thought to be bacterial; affected tissues are found to contain macrophages (a type of scavenging cell) containing rod-shaped bacteria. Treatment is with antibiotic drugs for at least 1 year. Dietary supplements are used to correct nutritional deficiencies occurring as a result of malabsorption.


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