The Impact of Cachexia on Patients and Families

According to the National Institute of Health, cachexia or wasting syndrome is characterized by persons with substantial weight loss or reduce skeletal muscle mass.  These patients experience decreased appetite resulting in weight loss, pain and fatigue which ultimately can result in a negative effect on their quality of life. This condition may occur in a variety of populations not the least of which are those patients battling cancer.

 

In my professional experience, I often found that even if a person didn’t have an inherent dysphagia there were many reasons their consumption might be reduced.  Dry mouth or xerostomia can be a factor impacting the ability to chew solid foods. Patients may exert more energy during masticating their food then actually obtaining caloric intake. I often found patients weak, this impacted their ability to swallow, which in turn made them even weaker. In the case of a dysphagia patient the affect may worsen their dysphagia.  In other populations, the effect may lead to malnutrition.

 

The inability to eat or reduced desire to eat often had a profound effect on the patients and their family. This stress often brings with it negative emotions and feelings demonstrated by both parties.

 

Following the launched of EAT Snack, we have heard many stories about patients who are fighting cancer and have found joy in consuming our product.  A courageous gentleman who is fighting a rare blood cancer and follows a Kosher diet found himself unable to eat for a few days.  He was weak and his family began searching for anything that he might be able to eat. While at the hospital for his weakly transfusion, he consumed two of the EAT Snacks by himself.  Not only did he find the snack tasty and easy to chew he was also thrilled to have a boost of energy. It was gratifying to learn that our snack provided both he and his family even a small measure of relief. 

 

I also learned of a woman with metastatic breast cancer who, during the past several months has lost a significant number of her teeth thus presenting a problem with chewing her food. She trialed the Lemon and Milk Chocolate snacks (which are her favorite flavors) and was very pleased with the bars. The snack brought her and her sister a smile when they witnessed how effortlessly the snack melted in her mouth.

 

Stories like these continue to inspire us at Nutraphagia. Keep them coming!