Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome

Cachexia 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 you supplement the patient calorically, lean body mass will be lost, indicating there is a fundamental pathology in place. Cachexia is seen in patients with cancer, AIDS, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and CHF (congestive heart failure).

It is a positive risk factor for death – meaning 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), and some autoimmune disorders, or addiction to drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine. Cachexia physically weakens patients to a state of immobility stemming from loss of appetite, asthenia, and anemia, and response to standard treatment is usually poor.Surveys conducted on appetite stimulation have shown that the use of marijuana has the potential to increase one’s appetite.

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