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Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome

Cachexia (play /k?’k?ksi?/; from Greek ?a??? kakos “bad” and ???? hexis “condition”)[1] or wasting syndrome is loss of weight, muscle atrophy, fatigue, weakness, and significant loss of appetite in someone who is not actively trying to lose weight. The formal definition of cachexia is the loss of body mass that cannot be reversed nutritionally: Even if the affected patient eats more calories, lean body mass will be lost, indicating there is a fundamental pathology in place. Cachexia is seen in patients with cancer, AIDS,[2] chronic obstructive lung disease, Multiple Sclerosis, congestive heart failure, tuberculosis, familial amyloid polyneuropathy, mercury poisoning (acrodynia) and hormonal deficiency. It is a positive risk factor for death, meaning that if the patient has cachexia, the chance of death from the underlying condition is increased dramatically. It can be a sign of various underlying disorders; when a patient presents with cachexia, a doctor will generally consider the possibility of cancer, metabolic acidosis (from decreased protein synthesis and increased protein catabolism), certain infectious diseases (e.g., tuberculosis, AIDS), chronic pancreatitis, and some autoimmune disorders, or addiction to amphetamines. Cachexia physically weakens patients to a state of immobility stemming from loss of appetite, asthenia, and anemia, and response to standard treatment is usually pool Cachexia is often seen in end-stage cancer, and in that context is called “cancer cachexia.” In patients with congestive heart failure, there is also a cachectic syndrome. Also, a cachexia co-morbidity is seen in patients that have any of the range of illnesses classified as “COPD” (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), particularly emphysema. Some severe cases of schizophrenia can present this condition where it is named vesanic cachexia (from vesania, a Latin term for insanity).[citation needed] It also can be observed in such parasitic diseases as african trypanosomiasis (Sleeping sickness).[citation needed] In each of these settings there is full-body wasting, which hits the skeletal muscle especially hard, resulting in muscle atrophy and great muscle loss. However, when presenting comorbidly with malabsorbtion syndrome, (as seen, for example, in Crohn’s Disease or Celiac Disease) simply consuming more food is not sufficient to reverse wasting and the malabsorbtion must be treated before the patient will be able to stabilize body mass.


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