How is Cachexia defined?

By June 3, 2020 No Comments


Cachexia has been defined as a loss of lean tissue mass, involving a weight loss greater than 5% of body weight in 12 months or less in the presence of chronic illness or as a body mass index (BMI) lower than 20 kg/m2. In addition, usually three of the following five criteria are required: decreased muscle strength, fatigue, anorexia, low fat-free mass index and increase of inflammation markers such as C – reactive protein or interleukin (IL)-6 as well as anaemia or low serum albumin. Cachexia can occur in most major diseases including infections, cancer, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and stroke.

Cachexia is a complex syndrome associated with an underlying illness causing ongoing muscle loss that is not entirely reversed with nutritional supplementation.

Sarcopenia and Cachexia

Muscle wasting and weakness are common in many disease states and conditions including aging and cancer. Muscle wasting in advanced cancer is related to age, sex, tumor type, and inflammation. It can be caused by inflammation and malnutrition in patients with cancer. Patients with cancer have problems including anorexia, weight loss, negative nitrogen balance, and skeletal muscle wasting. The loss of muscle and fat tissue due to chronic illness is referred to as cachexia, and the general loss of muscle mass with advancing age is referred to as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia diagnosis requires documentation of low muscle mass along with either low muscle strength or low physical performance.

Cachexia and sarcopenia share some pathological muscle wasting mechanisms characterized by inflammation and oxidative stress. In both cachexia and sarcopenia, muscle loss can lead to frailty and adversely affect various clinical outcomes.

Many oncologists and rehabilitation staffs confuse cancer cachexia with simple starvation or physiological processes such as sarcopenia. Since cancer cachexia and sarcopenia can both involve muscle wasting, we speculate that the two conditions can be confused in patients with cancer. However, sarcopenia and cachexia should not be confused in patients with cancer (Figure 1). Instead, it should be understood that the loss of skeletal muscle mass occurs in patients with cancer (cachexia) as well as during aging (sarcopenia).

Cachexia involves muscle wasting and weakness as a result of cancer-related inflammation, while sarcopenia involves muscle wasting and weakness as a result of age-related inflammation. Thus, the underlying pathological processes leading to muscle wasting and weakness differ between the two conditions.

Muscle wasting due to cancer cachexia and sarcopenia.


What can cause cachexia?

Cachexia can be caused by diverse medical conditions, but is most often associated with end-stage cancer, known as cancer cachexia. About 50% of all cancer patients suffer from cachexia. Those with upper gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers have the highest frequency of developing a cachexic symptom. Prevalence of cachexia rises in more advanced stages and is estimated to affect 80% of terminal cancer patients. Congestive heart failureAIDSchronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic kidney disease are other conditions that often cause cachexia. Cachexia can also be the result of advanced stages of cystic fibrosismultiple sclerosismotor neuron diseaseParkinson’s diseasedementiatuberculosismultiple system atrophymercury poisoningCrohn’s diseaserheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease as well as other systemic diseases.

Can you survive cachexia?

Many patients with advanced cancer anorexia and cachexia, however, do not survive long enough to suffer from these toxicities. Refractory Cachexia – refers to patients with cachexia whose cancer treatments are no longer working and have a life expectancy of less than 3 months. Cachexia: Weight loss greater than 5 percent or other symptoms and conditions consistent with the diagnostic criteria for cachexia. Refractory cachexia: Patients experiencing cachexia who are no longer responsive to cancer treatment, have a low performance score, and have a life expectancy of less than 3 months.

Is cachexia a cancer?

Cachexia, also called cancer cachexia or cancer anorexia cachexia, is a wasting syndrome. It is the loss of fat and muscle due to a chronic disease, such as cancer, and not eating enough nutrients (malnourishment). Cachexia causes weight loss, loss of appetite, weakness and fatigue.

How does cachexia kill you?

The association is consistent with known biological or pathological processes. PRO: Cachexia may lead to thromboembolic events, arrhythmia, sudden cardiac death, immune system disarrays and higher rates of cardiovascular and infectious disease events and death. Cachexia is an often irreversible side effect of diseases including cancer and HIV. It causes severe weight loss and muscle wastage. It is responsible for one-fifth of deaths from cancer. The best way to prevent cachexia is taking action to reduce the risk of underlying conditions, such as cancer and kidney failure.

Can cachexia be stopped?

Although by definition cachexia cannot be fully reversed by nutritional support, serial studies of CT imaging in cancer patients have identified a window of anabolic potential early in the disease trajectory where there may be an opportunity for nutritional intervention to stop or reverse cachexia.

Cachexinol is a patent-pending based 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. When something new—that hasn’t been tried before—like Cachexinol comes along, that packages the therapeutic benefits of a natural spice in a custom developed delivery package (liposome) and is guaranteed to get it into the bloodstream … it’s important that patients, caregivers, and their care team are made aware and discuss it as an option moving forward. As an advocate for your loved one, you have the right to advocate for new options. Just like you have the right, along with our doctors and researchers and to not accept that cachexia has to be a terminal disease.

How long can you survive with cachexia?

Many patients with advanced cancer anorexia and cachexia, however, do not survive long enough to suffer from these toxicities. Refractory Cachexia – refers to patients with cachexia whose cancer treatments are no longer working and have a life expectancy of less than 3 months.


What does cachexia look like?

Muscle wasting: This is the characteristic symptom of cachexia. However, despite the ongoing loss of muscle, not all people with cachexia appear malnourished. A person who was overweight before developing cachexia may appear to be of average size despite having lost a significant amount of weight. Cachectic: Having cachexia, physical wasting with loss of weight and muscle mass due to disease. Patients with advanced cancer, AIDS, severe heart failure and some other major chronic progressive diseases may appear cachectic.


Can you gain weight with cachexia?

Cachexia is defined as ongoing weight loss, often with muscle wasting, associated with a long-standing disease. In cachexia, refeeding often does not induce weight gain. evidence exists that any diet can reverse muscle wasting and prolong life in a person with cachexia as a result of advanced cancer. However, some researchers believe that eating a high-calorie diet may slow the muscle