Cardiac CachexiaSkip to the navigation
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
Current as ofMarch 12, 2014
Current as of: March 12, 2014
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org