You won’t find stories of people recovering from cachexia. That’s because the prognosis for patients with cachexia is usually poor, especially for those who have certain types of cancer or terminal diseases.
What you will find are recommendations for prevention or treatment for early stages of cachexia (which is often difficult to detect). Nutrition and exercise are suggested along with monitoring the patient for muscle and weight loss. Oftentimes, in the case of cancer cachexia, if the tumor is successfully treated, the patient will regain weight.
However, the cachexia that desperately needs a parachute is late-stage cachexia. Known as refractory cachexia, it can cause great distress, conflict and disconnect between patients and their loved ones. It has been considered irreversible and, therefore, terminal since cachexia was first discovered.
From the Greek kakos and hexis, meaning “bad condition”, cachexia was recognized by Greek physician and philosopher Hippocrates in the 4th century BC. He wrote that “the flesh is consumed and becomes water, … the abdomen fills with water, the feet and legs swell, the shoulders, clavicles, chest, and thighs melt away … The illness is fatal.” It was called “profound degradation” in 1866 by French physician Paul Broca. In the early 1900s, Brazilian physician Alfredo Leal Pimenta Bueno presented cachexia as one of the signs of the final stage of cancer.
Sadly, cachexia has always been viewed as a harbinger of death. Shockingly, there has been no single medicine or treatment plan that has been effective against cachexia.
Stages of Cachexia
Only recently have stages of cachexia been established. The hope is that your doctor will become more proficient at catching your or your loved one’s cachexia and begin to treat it before it fully develops into an irreversible stage. The problem, again, is that there are no specific guidelines for treatment.
According to a 2017 article in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, postulated stages of cachexia are:
- Pre-cachexia: Weight loss less than or equal to 5%, anorexia, and metabolic change
- Cachexia: Weight loss greater than or equal to 5%, or BMI less than 20 and weight loss greater than 2%; often reduced food intake; systemic inflammation
- Refractory cachexia: Variable degree of cachexia; disease both procatabolic and nonresponsive to treatment; low performance score; less than three months expected survival
Unfortunately, diagnosis of cachexia continues to be caught too late.
Refractory Cachexia: Is It Too Late to Save My Loved One?
Palliative-care researcher, Dr. Susan McClement, has talked with many families and patients dealing with the devastation of cachexia. Unfortunately, because of cachexia, loved ones sometimes spend their final days trying to force feed a patient. One man battled his wife daily, whose body had become emaciated from metastatic breast cancer, by pinching her nose and slipping in a spoonful of food when she opened her mouth. Despite his efforts, she died after a few weeks.
“It’s a constant reminder that the person is sick and is not going to get better,” says McClement of the toll cachexia takes on those close to patients that are wasting away.
Currently, it’s believed that people may be able to do a number of things that are based on a patient’s underlying illness, their diet and exercise—before cachexia sets in.
But in late-stage cachexia, doctors will direct you from recovery plans to palliative-care plans, which means employing measures to keep the patient’s quality of life as good as possible until they die.
Fortunately, there are researchers who have not accepted that prognosis.
Case Studies Showing that Cachexinol Works
Cachexinol is a patent-pending formula that has two mouse studies showing mice with cancer tumor-induced cachexia live for the full length of time and regain weight.
Using a proprietary liposome technology, Cachexinol was developed by an award-winning chemist and is clinically proven to increase nutrient absorption. It bypasses digestion and, therefore, can often circumvent nutritional impact symptoms, like poor appetite and nausea.
Researchers are still studying exactly how Cachexinol works, but it’s believed to have to do with immune function and metabolism.
Cachexinol is changing the game with its next generation technology, which is exactly what is needed to give your loved one with cachexia a fighting chance. Not only do they not have to succumb to the ravages of cachexia, but your patient can actually have the chance to regain weight and the strength to live to fight another day.