Cardiac Cachexia Syndrome

Cardiac cachexia syndrome is manifested in the form of unintentional weight loss and efforts to gain weight may not yield desired results even if an individual has a very good appetite and eats a high calorie diet. In some individuals the weight loss may occur as a result of the loss of muscle mass. A Cachexia definition better illustrates the point. It is categorized as a wasting syndrome.

Cachexia coupled with anorexia or a lack of appetite can make an individual lean and weak. Cachexia definition states that the syndrome occurs as a result of the inability of the body to absorb the essential nutrients. Cardiac cachexia can be determined on the basis of documented nonintentional and nonedematous (without edema) loss of weight greater than 7.5% of the premorbid standard weight. The weight loss takes place continuously over a span of six months.

The patho-physiological causes of the disease have not yet been determined clearly but research has shown indications that it might well be an outcome of immunologic and humoral neuroendocrine abnormalities. The symptoms of such a cardiac complication include a weak system and fatigue that might well be the result of the declining muscle quality and skeletal muscle mass. A detailed study of the body composition of a patient diagnosed with cardiac cachexia has revealed a drastic loss of lean tissue or skeletal muscles, fat tissue or the energy sources and bone tissue that leads to osteoporosis.

Patients who have been diagnosed with chronic heart failure have higher levels of norepinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol levels. There is evidence of the fact that cardiac cachexia occurs as a result of high plasma levels of tumor necrosis or necrotic tissue due to interrupted blood supply.

Cardiac cachexia stems from a heart failure which may occur as a result of the blood going back to the intestines and the liver. This tends to cause swelling of the organs thereby leading to a low appetite and nausea.

Inflated intestines may not adequately absorb the nutrients from the food. As a result the nutritional requirements of the system are not met properly. The presence of cytokines and tumor necrosis factor in the bloodstream of patients who have been diagnosed with a severe chronic heart disorder increases the amount of calories burnt. Interlukin 6 and Interferon gaama also have a role to play in the onset of this medical condition. Such a heart condition will automatically cause respiratory problems and a steady high temperature that burns more calories than usual.

Cachexia is a serious cardiac complication as it makes the patient weak, and reduces mobility over a period of time. It is important to seek the advice of a specialist when it comes to cardiac cachexia treatment. The drugs that are usually prescribed as part of cardiac cachexia treatment include corticosteroids. These work to increase the appetite and thereby stop the constant weight loss in the patient. However, these should be taken under medical supervision. Cardiac cachexia syndrome demands immediate medical attention as a delay in administering treatments can be detrimental to the health of the patient.