Whipple’s disease, also called intestinal lipodystrophy, is an uncommon disease that occurs when the intestinal wall is attacked by macrophages that contain the miscellany of bacteria. This is a malabsorption disorder that hinders with the body’s capability to take in particular nutrients, which causes incomplete digestion of fats and carbohydrates, weight loss, and prevents the immune system from functioning normally, can possibly affect the lungs, eyes, brain, and heart also.
Symptoms of Whipple’s disease are: loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, fatigue, abdominal pain, intestinal bleeding, and diarrhea, and sometimes arthritis, fever, and also neurological symptoms.
The one and only cause of Whipple’s disease is bacteria called Tropheryma whippelii. The bacteria cause the tissue of the small intestine to thicken because of the lesions it creates, which damages the little extensions that absorb the nutrients.
Once the symptoms indicate the disease, the diagnosis of Whipple’s disease can be done by doing a biopsy of the small intestine.
Treatment for Whipple’s disease is usually antibiotics but the amount and length of antibiotics depends on the severity of the disease. Treatment usually continues for several years to prevent relapses. Generally the disease is treated within two years.