Cachexia - Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman, MD
Last Updated on Aug 22, 2017
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who should I consult if I am suffering from excess weight loss?

There are many infectious and non-infectious causes that can result in excess weight loss. It is preferable to meet your general physician for a complete check-up to identify the probable causes for your condition.

2. Do cachexia and malnutrition have the same meaning?

Malnutrition refers to both under nutrition due to lack of nourishment and over nutrition due to over eating, while cachexia refers to the loss of body mass that occurs due to a pathological physiology and reduced calorie intake.

3. Are starvation and cachexia the same?

No. Starvation is weight loss that occurs due to chronic caloric deprivation. In starvation, the body tries to conserve energy by using up stored fat to produce energy. In cachexia the body uses protein to produce energy resulting in a disproportionate loss of muscle mass.

4. In which types of conditions is cachexia more commonly seen?

Cachexia is most commonly seen in cancer affecting the gastrointestinal and respiratory system, with weight loss as high as up to 30 percent of pre-illness weight.

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