Cachexia is a state of severe weight loss, muscle wasting and enfeeblement caused by serious disease. Both fat and protein are lost. The metabolic derangements are similar to those seen in marasmus.
Commonly associated with malignancy, cachexia is also a feature of cardiac failure, failure of the gastro- intestinal tract to absorb nutrients, alcoholism and pulmonary tuberculosis.
The cytokine interleukin-1 may be involved in the pathogenesis of some forms of cachexia.
Last reviewed 01/2018