Whipple’s disease is a disease caused due to bacterial infection. It mostly affects the gastrointestinal system. In this disease normal digestion is disturbed as the breakdown of foods like fats and carbohydrates is interfered. The ability of the body to absorb nutrients is also hampered. Other than the gastrointestinal system, other body parts like brain, eyes, heart and joints are also affected. If not treated well, the disease can become serious or fatal.
Symptoms associated with Whipple’s disease include diarrhoea, weight loss, weakness, abdominal pain, inflammation of joints, anaemia and fatigue etc. Some of the neurological symptoms that may be associated with Whipple’s disease include seizures, difficulty in walking, loss of memory, visual impairment and confusion. It is a rare disease and some of the causes related to it are as below.
Top Causes of Whipple’s disease
Infection caused due to bacteria is considered to be the reason behind Whipple’s disease. The bacterium responsible for causing this disease is called as Tropheryma whipplei.
This bacterium first affects the mucosal lining of the small intestine. In this process, small lesions are formed within the wall of the intestine. It also damages the villi lining the small intestine. This bacterial infection can also spread to other parts of the body with time.
Exposure To Bacterium
Not much information is available about the bacterium that causes Whipple’s disease. It is seemed that bacterium might be readily present in the environment. Scientists are still not sure from where this bacterium develops and how it gets transferred to the human body. Also, it has been found that the Whipple’s disease does not occur to everybody who carries this bacterium and that this disease is uncommon.
Though the Whipple’s disease is rare, environmental factors are thought to play a role in the development of this disease. It is considered that the bacterium responsible for causing this disease is found in the soil and in the sewage water.
Since this reason is only found behind the common diseases, it was unpredictable with Whipple’s disease. But this disease has not been found to transfer from one person to another even when it occurs to the members of the same family.
It has been found that some of the people are more vulnerable to this disease. It may be due to the genetic influence in the immune system.Some people who have the bacterium responsible for causing Whipple’s disease do not get affected with this disease. It is due to the existence of relatively large number of asymptotic carriers. Though they are not affected with the disease themselves but can transmit the disease to others. As compared to them, people who are affected with the Whipple’s disease have comparatively lesser number of asymptotic carriers.
Genetic reasons are also predicted to be some of the reasons behind the development of Whipple’s disease. It is believed by the researchers that patients of Whipple’s disease have a genetic defect in the immune system. Due to this reason, their body become more susceptible to the attack of this bacterium. The genetic defect in the immune response can make them ill when they are exposed to this bacterium.