n. a state in which absorption of one or more substances by the small intestine is reduced. It most commonly affects fat (causing steatorrhoea), some vitamins (such as B12, folate, vitamin D, and vitamin K), electrolytes (such as calcium, potassium), iron, and amino acids. Symptoms (depending on the substances involved) include weight loss, diarrhoea, anaemia, paraesthesia, swelling (oedema), and vitamin deficiencies. The commonest causes are coeliac disease, pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, blind loop syndrome, chronic infection (e.g. giardiasis), or surgical removal of a length of small intestine.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.