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Cardiac Cachexia

Overview

Cardiac cachexia is unintentional severe weight loss caused by severe heart failure. The weight loss might be life-threatening.

Even with a very good appetite and high calorie intake, some people lose muscle mass.

Cardiac cachexia can require supplemental nutrition.

How it happens

  • 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.
  • Poor blood flow or 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.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: September 7, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Stephen Fort MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology

Research Health Topics

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