Your small intestine is where food is absorbed.
Malabsorption is when you have trouble absorbing the nutrients in your food. Nutrients are things that provide nutrition to your body. They include protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Whipple disease is a rare infection that damages the lining of your small intestine. You have trouble breaking down (digesting) food and absorbing nutrients.
Whipple disease may affect other organs too, such as your heart, lungs, brain, joints, and eyes.
The main symptoms of Whipple disease are:
Other symptoms include:
Not feeling hungry
Anemia (low red blood cell count), which may make you feel weak and tired
Swollen lymph nodes
If the infection spreads to your brain—confusion or memory loss
Doctors diagnose Whipple disease by finding the bacteria that causes the disease in a biopsy sample taken from your small intestine. With a biopsy, doctors take a small sample of tissue using instruments on the end of an endoscope (a flexible viewing tube) and then look at the sample under a microscope.