Hypercatabolism: An Overview

Hypercatabolism is a condition that causes the body's metabolism to become accelerated or increased beyond normal levels. This can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including trauma, sepsis, cancer, burns, cachexia, malnutrition, end-stage kidney or liver diseases, and even intensive care unit stays. It can also occur in individuals suffering from chronic disease, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and autoimmune disorders. Hypercatabolism can cause many serious health complications, and can even be life-threatening, if left untreated.

Hypercatabolism causes the body to rapidly break down muscle and fat tissue, leading to the release of large amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fat into the bloodstream. This can lead to a number of symptoms, such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle wasting
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Low energy levels
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depressed mood
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Edema (fluid retention)

Hypercatabolism can also result in serious electrolyte imbalances, along with impaired blood clotting ability. Additionally, individuals with hypercatabolism are at increased risk for developing infections.

Treatment for hypercatabolism typically involves correcting any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the condition, as well as providing supportive care such as proper nutrition and medications aimed at restoring energy balance and organ function. Additionally, careful monitoring is important, in order to ensure that the condition does not progress or cause further health complications.