catabolic illness

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A condition characterised by rapid weight loss and loss of fat and skeletal muscle mass, which may occur in a background of either an acute, self-limited disease—e.g., injury, infection—or a chronic condition—e.g.,diabetic ketoacidosis, multisystem organ failure, AIDS, advanced cancer, chemotherapy, radiation therapy
Associated clinical events Immunosuppression, muscle weakness, predisposition to pulmonary embolism, thrombophlebitis, altered stress response
Management Aggressive nutritional support in catabolic diseases may not prevent protein loss; specialised nutrition—e.g., glutamine, arginine, branched-chain amino acids, n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids, growth hormone, possibly IGF-I and EGF—may decrease protein loss, hospitalisation
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

catabolic illness

Rapid weight loss with loss of body fat and muscle mass that frequently accompanies short-term, self-limiting conditions such as infection or injury. This condition may be associated with diabetic ketoacidosis, multiple organ system failure, and chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer.


Inflammation should be reduced and appropriate nutrients provided.

See also: illness
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners