Malabsorption is insufficient absorption of nutrients. This medical condition is also accompanied by vitamin and mineral deficiency. There is a variety of medical conditions that can lead to malabsorption. They are basically connected with improper functioning of certain parts of gastrointestinal tract.
This syndrome is hereditary condition and features with inappropriate absorption of fats. Without sufficient amount of fats the body cannot develop and function properly. This syndrome predominantly affects men and the actual cause lies in defect of one or two specific genes. Fats are of great importance for nervous and muscular system. The symptoms of Bassen-Kornzweig Syndrome include inappropriate development, the presence of stool rich in fats, muscular problems such as bad coordination, weakness of muscles. Additionally, patients may complain about problems with vision and speech.
Biliar atresia is congenital disease. It features with inadequate development of the bile ducts. The consequence of this is accumulation of the bile inside the liver. The patient develops cirrhosis of the liver and in terminal stage of the disease liver failure. Bile is essential for absorption of fats. In people who are suffering from biliar atresia bile cannot reach intestines therefore the fats cannot be properly absorbed.
Celiac disease is another medical condition that causes malabsorption. Namely, the patient with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a substance which is present in certain food. Intake of the food rich in gluten leads to destruction of the intestinal villi and if large portions of intestines are damaged absorption of nutrients becomes insufficient. However, if the disease is found on time just by simple elimination of the food rich in gluten one can prevent excessive damage of the intestine and reduce the chance of malabsorption.
Some intestinal parasites including Giardia lamblia, Necator americanus and Strongyloides stercoralis can interfere in digestion of the food. They can either directly 'steal' the food from the host or their presence is what makes absorption difficult. In many patients who are suffering from intestinal parasites malabsorption can be the only symptom of the disease and it can lead the patient to see his/ her doctor.
Destruction of pancreatic tissue, especially if it is caused by autoimmune diseases, as well as acute and chronic inflammation of this gland in all cases leads to malabsorption. This can be explained by the fact that, the structure of the pancreas has been significantly damaged by inflammation and the gland cannot produce enzymes necessary for digestion. Malabsorption particularly affects fats since the purpose of pancreatic enzymes is digestion of these substances.