Cachexia is a “wasting” disorder that causes immense levels of weight reduction and muscle wasting, which can include loss of fat.
This condition influences people who are in the late phases of different serious illnesses, such as:
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
- kidney diseases, and
- congestive heart failure.
The loss of weight in cachexia is involuntary or without conscious efforts.
The survival rate of cachexia can vary depending on the cause. Progressive cachexia is often a sign of poor prognosis and a relatively shorter survival time. The amount and rate of weight loss and survival time are directly related to the survival time of the underlying condition in people with HIV, cancer, and more.
3 categories of cachexia
The 3 categories of cachexia include:
- Pre-cachexia: Characterized by loss of less than five percent of your body weight while having a known sickness or illness, and is accompanied by a disturbance in appetite and changes in metabolism.
- Cachexia: The reduction of more than five percent of your body weight. A few other different characteristics include loss of muscle strength, reduced appetite, inflammation, and fatigue.
- Refractory cachexia: Applies to people with cancer with characteristics that include weight reduction, muscle loss, and an inability to respond to cancer treatment.
What causes cachexia?
Cachexia is a complicated disorder and its exact causes might change depending on a person's physiology and underlying illness related to it.
However, the below-mentioned variables stay consistent across all diagnoses:
- Increased metabolic rate and energy expenditure
- Reduced nutrient intake or availability
- Increased breakdown of muscle
- Prevention of muscle growth
What are the symptoms of cachexia?
The main symptom of cachexia is muscle and fat loss that make you look malnourished.
Some other symptoms that indicate cachexia include:
- Weakness, which makes it difficult for your everyday activities
- Decreased muscle strength and muscle wasting
- Appetite loss
- Low levels of the albumin protein in the blood
- Increased levels of inflammation in the body
- Low fat-free mass index
- Edema (swelling) because low protein levels in the blood cause fluids to stay in body tissues
What are the risk factors associated with cachexia?
Cachexia usually occurs in the end phases of severe conditions.
It is best to talk to your doctor about ways to prevent the development of cachexia and how it could be managed if it develops along with one of the following conditions:
How is cachexia treated?
There is no set up single treatment plan or medication that can cure cachexia because of the many elements that add to its cause. The best way is to consolidate several types of therapies because changing your eating routine alone won't work.
You may likewise need to consider the following:
- Focus on social parts of eating: Emphasizing the social significance of eating rather than the measure of food might help an individual reposition their emotion and mental relationship to eating.
- Use appetite stimulants: Your doctor may prescribe medications to increase your appetite. It is important to remember that eating more may not stop muscle wasting or prevent the development of symptoms.
- Eat small but frequent meals: If your body can tolerate it, eat high-calorie meals in small but frequent portions throughout the day. Pick drinks with nutritional supplements to help increase your caloric intake.
- Encourage light exercise: As long as your body can tolerate it, exercise may help build muscle mass. However, there is no proof with regards to the effectiveness of exercise as an action against cachexia.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top How Long Can You Live With Cachexia Related Articles
CancerCancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
Screening Tests for CancerCancer detection are methods used to find cancer in persons who may or may not have symptoms. Symptoms of cancer are abnormal sensations or conditions that persons can notice that are a result of the cancer. It is important to your doctor for regular checkups and not wait for problems to occur.
Guide to LeukemiaLearn about the common types and stages of leukemia, who gets it, symptoms, tests, treatments, and more. People with blood cancer are living longer than ever, and it may be curable.
Cancer QuizTake this quiz to learn the causes of cancer. Get the facts about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for the world's most common cancers.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
Cancer: Does This Cause Cancer?Everything gives you cancer, right? Not really. WebMD's slide show tells you about the research into cancer and cell phones, X-rays, plastic bottles, coffee, and more.
HIV/AIDS MythsWhat is HIV versus AIDS? What are the symptoms of HIV? Is there an HIV cure? Discover myths and facts about living with HIV/AIDS. Learn about HIV and AIDS treatment options, symptoms, and diagnosis.
What Are HIV & AIDS? Symptoms, Treatment, and PreventionHIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Learn about HIV symptoms, HIV test, HIV positive, being HIV positive, how HIV infection spreads, T-Cell counts, antiretroviral therapy (ART), viral load, Truveda, and other HIV/AIDS therapies.
HIV TestingHIV antibody tests detect antibodies the body produces to neutralize the virus. HIV RNA testing uses polymerase chain reaction to detect HIV RNA in a person's blood. It usually takes one to three days to get results.
HIV/AIDS PictureAcronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). See a picture of HIV/AIDS and learn more about the health topic.
How Long Can You Live with HIV?HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. If someone has HIV it means that they have been diagnosed with the HIV infection. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome); however, is the most advanced or final stage of the HIV infection. In the case of an untreated HIV infection, the overall mortality rate is more than 90%. The average time from infection to death is eight to ten years.
Kidney Disease QuizKidney disease is common. Take this kidney disease quiz to test your knowledge and learn the symptoms, causes and types of kidney disease and what foods to eat and avoid!
What Are the 4 Stages of Congestive Heart Failure?The New York Heart Association developed the four stages of congestive heart failure depending on the functional capabilities of the heart which includes Class I, Class II, Class III, and Class IV.
What Are the 5 Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease?The doctor will take your complete medical history along with your family history, such as if anyone in your family has or had diabetes, whether you are on any medications (that can cause kidney damage), and so on. They will perform a thorough physical examination to see if you have any signs or symptoms of CKD.
What Are the Four Stages of HIV?The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) into four stages. Stage 1 (HIV infection): The CD4+ cell count is at least 500 cells per microliter. Stage 2 (HIV infection): The CD4+ cell count is 350 to 499. Stage 3 (advanced HIV disease or AHD): The CD4+ cell count is 200 to 349. Stage 4 (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS]): The CD4+ cell count is less than 200.
What Is the #1 Cause of Pancreatic Cancer?Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells begin to grow uncontrollably and form tumors within the pancreas. The exact cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown. However, doctors have identified some risk factors that increase your chances of developing pancreatic cancer. These include being over 45 years old, male gender, African American race, cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, regular consumption of high dietary fats, obesity, type 2 diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, family history of pancreatic cancer, and heavy exposure to certain chemicals used in the dry cleaning and metalworking industries.
What Percentage of Abnormal Mammograms Are Cancer?Being called back for a second mammogram and ultrasound is no need to panic. Only 0.5% of women with abnormal mammograms are found to have breast cancer.