Small Intestine Disorders

Small Intestine Disorders

1. MALABSORPTION

Malabsorption is the failure to absorb nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins.

Malabsorption affects growth and development of the body. It also causes specific diseases.

2. MALABSORPTION SYNDROME

Malabsorption syndrome is the condition characterized by the failure of digestion and absorption in small

intestine. Malabsorption syndrome is generally caused by Crohn’s disease, tropical sprue, steatorrhea and celiac disease.

3. CROHN’S DISEASE OR ENTERITIS

Enteritis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), characterized by inflammation of small intestine. Usually, it affects the lower part of small intestine, the ileum. The inflammation causes malabsorption and diarrhea.

Causes

Crohn’s disease develops because of abnormalities of the immune system. The immune system reacts to a virus or a bacterium, resulting in inflammation of the intestine.

Features

i. Malabsorption of vitamin

ii. Weight loss

iii. Abdominal pain

iv. Diarrhea

v. Rectal bleeding, anemia and fever

vi. Delayed or stunted growth in children.

4. TROPICAL SPRUE

Tropical sprue is a malabsorption syndrome, affecting the residents of or the visitors to tropical areas where the disease is epidemic.

Cause

The cause of this disease is not known and it may be related to infectious organisms.

Features

i. Indigestion

ii. Diarrhea

iii. Anorexia and weight loss

iv. Abdominal and muscle cramps.

5. STEATORRHEA

Steatorrhea is the condition caused by deficiency of pancreatic lipase, resulting in malabsorption of fat.

6. CELIAC DISEASE

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by the damage of mucosa and atrophy of villi in small intestine, resulting in impaired digestion and absorption. It is also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, celiac sprue and non-tropical sprue.

Cause

Celiac disease is caused by gluten. It is a protein present in wheat, oats, rye, barley and other grains. Gluten is like a poison to individuals with celiac disease, because it damages the intestine severely.

Features

i. Diarrhea

ii. Steatorrhea

iii. Abdominal pain

iv. Weight loss

v. Irritability

vi. Depression.

FUNCTIONAL ANATOMY OF LARGE INTESTINE

Large intestine or colon extends from ileocecal valve up to anus.

PARTS OF LARGE INTESTINE

Large intestine is made up of the following parts:

1. Cecum with appendix

2. Ascending colon

3. Transverse colon

4. Descending colon

5. Sigmoid colon or pelvic colon

6. Rectum

7. Anal canal.

Absorption of Water and Minerals

i. In small intestine, sodium is absorbed actively. It is responsible for absorption of glucose, amino

acids and other substances by means of sodium cotransport.

ii. Water moves in or out of the intestinal lumen until the osmotic pressure of intestinal contents

becomes equal to that of plasma.

iii. In ileum, chloride ion is actively absorbed in exchange for bicarbonate. The significance of

this exchange is not known.

iv. Calcium is actively absorbed mostly in upper part of small intestine.

Absorption of Vitamins

Most of the vitamins are absorbed in upper part of small intestine and vitamin B12 is absorbed in ileum.

Absorption of water-soluble vitamins is faster than fatsoluble vitamins.

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