Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Excessive Weight Loss Can Be A Bad Thing

Date:
January 23, 2009
Source:
Saint Louis University
Summary:
Beware of unexplained and sudden weight loss, warns a Saint Louis University physician. Cachexia can signal a serious underlying sickness.

Doctors are not doing enough to pick up on problems with excessive weight loss, says a Saint Louis University physician who helped draft recent guidelines to diagnose the condition called "cachexia" (kuh-kex-ee-uh).

"In sick people, weight loss is an important indicator of disease and potentially impending death," said John Morley, M.D., an endocrinologist and director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

"Cachexia is an extraordinary problem for people who are having other health problems, yet this is something that many physicians don't pay attention to."

A group of physicians and scientists agreed on a definition of cachexia, which was published in the December edition of the medical journal, Clinical Nutrition.

"The definition is important because it gives physicians the guidelines to make a diagnosis and treat the condition," Morley said. "A definition of cachexia also makes it easier for scientists to conduct research and potentially develop new therapies for the problem."

About half of hospitalized patients and between 10 and 15 percent of sick patients who see a doctor have cachexia. The condition accompanies diseases such as cancer, congestive heart failure, HIV, diabetes, kidney failure and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Adults with cachexia lose weight and children don't grow. Muscle mass melts away, and those with cachexia also may lose fat.

Those who traditionally have had difficulty taking off weight and suddenly find the pounds melting off should beware, Morley said. They may be ill and could get even sicker as they become weaker and weaker.

"Cachexia should be seen as a wasting disease that requires specialized treatment from a physician who is familiar with the problem," Morley said.

The researchers clarified the definition of cachexia by noting it is always linked to an underlying disease. They differentiated it from starvation; loss of muscle mass that comes with aging; depression; thyroid problems; and the body's difficulty in absorbing nutrients. Rather, cachexia is a complicated metabolic syndrome that is often associated with anorexia, inflammation, insulin resistance and increased muscle protein breakdown.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Louis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Saint Louis University. "Excessive Weight Loss Can Be A Bad Thing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121144107.htm>.
Saint Louis University. (2009, January 23). Excessive Weight Loss Can Be A Bad Thing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121144107.htm
Saint Louis University. "Excessive Weight Loss Can Be A Bad Thing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121144107.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins