Photo: Getty Images
I really love living in a close-knit neighborhood. Many times neighbors volunteer helpful information from a different perspective. For example, recently my wonderful neighbor Chris was losing weight.
Chris is active and eats incredibly healthy. He was literally shrinking before our eyes. He’d been to the doctor and had some blood tests. The results only revealed he was mildly anemic.
Our other neighbor Emily, who is a nurse and a lawyer, mentioned that Chris was also looking very pale along with his recent weight loss. Emily speculated that Chris was losing weight and anemic because of malabsorption.
Nurse Emily mentioned to Chris that he might have celiac disease and should be tested. Emily’s hunch was correct and Chris was diagnosed with celiac disease.
Malabsorption is when your body does not absorb nutrients from the food you ingest. A perfect example is celiac disease. In Chris’ case, his intestines were not absorbing the nutrients he needed to maintain a proper body weight.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, other symptoms of malabsorption include:
• Weight loss
• Muscle wasting
• Growth failure also known failure to thrive
• Bloating, cramping, and gas
• Fatty stools (steatorrhea)
• Chronic diarrhea (may not occur with vitamin malabsorption)
• Bulky stools
Malabsorption is generally a symptom of a disease or the result of using certain medications. The National Institute of Health’s website revealed some of those diseases or medications include:
• Certain types of cancer (lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, gastrinomas)
• Damage from radiation treatments
• Celiac disease
• Biliary atresia
• Whipple's disease
• Cow's milk protein intolerance
• Soy milk protein intolerance
• Parasite infection, including Giardia lamblia
• Crohn's disease
• Chronic liver disease
• Certain types of surgery (gastrectomy with gastrojejunostomy, surgical treatments for obesity, partial or complete removal of the ileum)
• AIDS and HIV
Types of medications:
• Some antacids
• Medications used to treat obesity (colchicine, acarbose, phenytoin)