Difference Between Cachexia and Malnutrition

Cachexia and malnutrition are both in relation to the condition of nutrition in a person. Despite the two conditions being closely linked, each condition is clinically independent and the ii cannot exist likened to ane another. Malnutrition primarily focuses on the diet, more specifically the lack or backlog thereof, in a patient. Cachexia, on the other hand, focuses on the nutritional aftermath or accompanying effects in relation to underlying systematic disease or chronic conditions in patients.


Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances found in an individual’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. This is a broader term is ordinarily used only to refer to undernutrition, but it besides includes overnutrition. The term “malnutrition” includes two broader groups of conditions as follows:


  • including stunting (which refers to low height measurements in relation to age)
  • Wasting (which refers to low weight measurement in relation to height)
  • Underweight (which refers to depression weight in relation to age)
  • Micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (which refers to a lack of vitamins and minerals of importance)

“Overweight, obesity and nutrition-related noncommunicable diseases”

  • This includes conditions such as centre disease, stroke factors, diabetes, and various cancers.

Cachexia is divers equally a complex metabolic syndrome and is associated with underlying affliction. This status is characterized by the loss of musculus with or without loss of fat. Cachexia is also known or referred to equally “wasting syndrome”.

The virtually prominent clinical characteristic of this condition is weight loss in adult patients and failure to grow in children. Other conditions often associated with cachexia are anorexia, inflammation in the body, an increase in muscle poly peptide breakdown, and insulin resistance.

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Symptoms and Clinical Presentation

Malnutrition often presents through various signs and symptoms. These are often as follows:

  • An increases frequency of infections
  • Loss in appetite
  • Fatigue and feeling lethargic
  • Increased irritability
  • Changes in mood status (for case, cases of depression)
  • Poor weight gain despite attempts to amend weight condition

The signs and symptoms most unremarkably seen upon clinical presentation of this condition are as follows:

  • Swelling
  • Fatigue and feeling lethargic
  • Muscle wasting (specifically skeletal muscle type)
  • Decreased ambition
  • Unintentional/involuntary weight loss


Malnutrition is caused by types of deficiencies, excess and/or imbalances in the intake of energy and/or nutrients in an individual.

Cachexia is caused by weather condition such as dysphagia, cancers, HIV, tuberculosis, heart failure, stroke, and others. Boosted causes are treatments such every bit chemotherapy and radiotherapy.


The diagnosis of malnutrition is based on the following:

  • Clinical presentation/picture
  • BMI <eighteen.5 kg/m2
  • Weight loss of more than ten%
  • Weight loss of more than v% over the terminal iii months in combination with a BMI <twenty in lxx-year-olds and under, or BMI <22 in 79-year-olds and above.

The diagnosis of cachexia is based on the following:

  • Weight loss of 5% or more than in a year or less in accessory of underlying disease WITH iii of the following symptoms:
  • Decrease in musculus strength
  • Increased fatigue
  • Anorexia
  • Low fatty-gratuitous mass
  • Abnormal biochemistry test results (such as inflammatory markers, blood prison cell presence)


Treatment for malnutrition generally includes consultation with a registered and qualified dietician, intravenous feeding and/or tube feeding (via nasogastric tube or abdominal tube), and the assistants of supplements (such equally vitamins).

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Treatment options specifically for cachexia are limited but too include generally includes consultation with a registered and qualified dietician, intravenous feeding and/or tube feeding, administration of supplements (such as vitamins). The handling limitations in cachexia includes the issue that the general treatment does non care for or correct the underlying disease and trouble. In that location are certain medications and promising pharmacological agents, but effectiveness of these have non notwithstanding been proven. Treatment strategies by healthcare professionals for cachexia aim to target skeletal muscle wasting in the presence of an adequate nutritional state.

Table of comparing between malnutrition and cachexia


In many ways, cachexia and malnutrition are like. They present in a similar manner, but a primal distinguishing cistron in cachexia is the underlying systemic affliction. The diagnostic criteria betwixt the two differ slightly, but that is of little importance clinically speaking. In both cachexia and malnutrition, clinical intervention in terms of diagnosis and treatment should accept identify as soon equally possible, as this is the all-time way to meliorate the charge per unit of survival in patients.


What is the difference between cachexia and starvation?

Cachexia is a syndrome referring to malnutrition and occurs as a issue of severe systemic disease. Starvation is caused by a lack of food and occurs as a result of social circumstance and/or mental disease.

What is the difference between cachexia and anorexia?

Both in relation to poor nutrition, cachexia occurs in the background of a systemic disease whereas anorexia refers to the lack or loss of appetite. Anorexia Nervosa on the other hand, is a mental disorder causes the obsession with weight and what is eaten and is characterized by a distorted body image with an unwarranted fear of being overweight.

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What is cachexia malnutrition?

Cachexia malnutrition is besides known every bit “wasting syndrome”, is the progression condition of unintentional (or involuntary) weight loss of more than 10% of the baseline body weight in the setting of an underlying systemic disease or chronic infection.

What defines cachexia?

Cachexia is typically divers by muscle loss and the presence of a systemic affliction in combination with signs of malnutrition. It is also characterized and defined past the loss of musculus with or without the loss of fat mass.

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