Cardiac cachexia is unintentional severe weight loss caused by heart disease. The weight loss might be life-threatening.
It can happen to people who have severe heart failure. Even with a very good appetite and high calorie intake, some people lose muscle mass.
Cardiac cachexia can require supplemental nutrition.
How does heart failure cause it?
- Heart failure may cause blood to back up into the liver and intestines, and they may swell. This swelling can lead to nausea and decreased appetite.
- Swelling of the intestines may not allow for adequate absorption of nutrients from the food you eat.
- Heart failure may force you to work harder to breathe and cause your body temperature to increase. Both of these conditions burn calories.
- In people with severe heart failure, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and other signaling molecules in the bloodstream called cytokines can increase the metabolic rate of the tissues, thus burning more calories.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology|
|Last Revised||April 26, 2012|
|By:||Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: April 26, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology|
Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
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