Cachexia/Anorexia and Feeding Difficulties

Living reference work entry

Abstract

Symptoms related to anorexia (loss of appetite), cachexia (muscle loss and wasting) and dysphagia (reduced ability to eat) are devastating for a person with a palliative illness and their families. They are common, especially as illness advances, and occur in both malignant and nonmalignant illness. Not only do the conditions serve as a visual reminder of the chronic disease, they also affect the psychology governing the social aspects of eating. For many years, anorexia, cachexia and dysphagia as distinct conditions were overlooked by healthcare professionals and researchers as the focus was on the primary chronic illness instead (Fearon et al., Understanding the mechanisms and treatment options in cancer cachexia. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 10(2):90–99, 2013). Clinical research, particularly in the field of cancer cachexia, has gained new insight in the pathogenesis and management of the conditions including anorexia and dysphagia. This chapter will define the conditions and outline the epidemiology, etiology and pathophysiology and assessment and management of these symptoms.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of HealthUniversity of TechnologySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Ingham Institute of Applied Medical ResearchLiverpoolAustralia
  3. 3.South Western Sydney Clinical School, School of MedicineUniversity of New South Wales (UNSW)SydneyAustralia

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