Food Absorption Disorders – Common Absorption Disorders

Food absorption disorders are the disorders related to problems in digestion and absorption of nutrients in diet. They are also called malabsorption syndromes. Absorption disorder does not mean that it refers to a specific disease condition. But this is related to other disease conditions.

Types of Absorption Disorders

Absorption disorders are of many types that decrease the ability of nutrient absorption. This is also called malabsorption. Also there are disorders that increase the absorption of certain nutrients. The disorders include: Wilson’s disease ( increases copper absorption) and hemochromatosis (increased iron absorption).

Common absorption disorders

The most common absorption disorders include celiac disease, lactose intolerance, tropical sprue and Whipple’s disease.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is caused by intolerance to a gluten protein. This protein is present in rye, barley and wheat that cannot be tolerated by the digestive tract enzymes and thus absorption becomes a difficulty.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance is caused due to lack of lactase enzyme in the body. Due to lactase insufficiency, the sugar in dairy products (lactose) cannot be digested and absorbed by the body. Lactose intolerance is of two types – primary and secondary lactase deficiencies.

  • Primary lactase deficiency –

    This condition develops when the body produces very less lactase enzyme. It affects the children at an early stage of 2 years but symptoms are developed much later.

  • Secondary lactase deficiency –

    This condition develops when small intestine gets damaged thus decreasing the production of lactase enzyme. Disease conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease can cause secondary lactase deficiency.

Tropical sprue

It is an absorption disorder that affects the people of tropical and subtropical regions that include Southeast Asia and Carribean. It is an infection which damages the small intestinal lining. The right cause for the disease is not known. It causes symptoms such as malnutrition, weight loss, diarrhea and anemia. Antibiotics are the only treatment methods to relieve from tropical sprue.

Whipple’s disease

Whipple’s disease is a small intestinal infection caused by a bacteria called Tropheryma whippelii. It leads to malabsorption. It produces serious effects on areas of brain, lungs, eyes and joints. Symptoms include abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, severe diarrhea, joint stiffness and pains. Whipple’s disease can be treated through taking antibiotics, intravenous injections and dietary changes.

1 response to Food Absorption Disorders – Common Absorption Disorders

  1. Celiac disease can cause malabsorption due to intestinal damage. However; gluten can also damage the liver and pancreas, disrupting the production of bile and other critical digestive enzymes.

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