Symptoms of Whipple’s disease mimic those found in rheumatoid arthritis.
It’s been said time and time again – When hoofbeats are heard, it shouldn’t be assumed that it’s a horse.
A recent study published in Orphanet Journal of Rare Disease indicates that Whipple’s disease (WD) patients are one of the most recent example of zebras being mistaken for horses. The most common symptoms in WD patients include predominant joint manifestations, which mimics the symptoms found in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
WD, a rare chronic infectious disorder cause by Tropheryma whipplei, most often affects the gastrointestinal system. It interferes with normal digestion by impairing the breakdown of foods and hampers the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. It can infect other organs, such as the brain, heart, and eyes, and, later stages of the disease are characterized by systemic symptoms like fever, weight loss and diarrhea. Without proper treatment – typically antibiotics – it can be serious or even fatal.
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