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Clinical Problems Of Patients With Cachexia Due To Chronic Illness: A Congress Report

S. Hadzibegovic, Philipp Sikorski, Sophia K Potthoff, J. Springer, A. Lena, M. Anker
Published 2020 · Medicine

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Cachexia is a complex and multifactorial comorbidity characterized by a metabolic imbalance. It is defined as a body weight loss ≥5% in the last 12 months in patients with a chronic illness who also suffer from at least three of the following five symptoms: fatigue, decreased muscle strength, low fat‐free mass index, anorexia, and/or altered biochemistry (haemoglobin < 12 g/dL, serum albumin < 3.2 g/dL, increased interleukin 6, or C‐reactive protein). It is influenced by immunological, neurohormonal, and mucointestinal impairments and aggravated by factors such as malabsorption and dietary deficiencies. Cachexia is frequently seen in different chronic diseases: in 50–80% of advanced cancer patients, 30–50% of dialysis patients, 20–30% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients, 20–30% of rheumatoid arthritis patients, 10% of patients after neurologic stroke, and 10–20% of chronic heart failure (CHF) patients. As an example, CHF patients share many risk factors with cachexia that also contribute to its development: high prevalence of comorbidities, immunoflammatory alterations, worsening nutritional status, and a sedentary lifestyle with a high risk for frailty due to a decrease of daily life activities or frequent rehospitalizations. Hence, wasting disorders are associated with poorer quality of life, longer hospitalization rates, and increased mortality. Therefore, there is a need for annually meetings, in person or digital, where clinicians and basic researches can share their knowledge on the topic. Over 400 participants from more than 35 countries attended the ‘12 International Conference on Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle Wasting’, which was held in Berlin, Germany, from 6 to 8 December 2019. It provided a great platform for new updates about cachexia and muscle wasting disorders. Among a variety of lectures and poster presentations, one special clinical session was dedicated to the most frequent symptoms in patients with cachexia and their treatments: swallowing problems, pain, depression, muscle weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
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