When it comes to dealing with diseases, there are certain chronic or terminal conditions which involve the development of secondary diseases that occur as a direct result of the original disease process. Such is the case with Cachexia. It typically occurs after someone has experienced a chronic or terminal illness for quite some time. More importantly, it usually marks one of the last disease processes that an individual will go through. More often than not, it ‘s hard, if not impossible, to effectively manage a patient’s condition once this particular disease process starts to take hold. Therefore, medical management of the illness usually centers around making the patient as comfortable as possible. However, it is important to understand where new types of treatment such as medical marijuana might come into play here. It is equally important to recognize the symptoms of the disease as well as what typically occurs when a person is diagnosed. Frequently, it is more about the treatment of the condition and understanding how it can be managed, especially concerning the individual in question.
What Is Cachexia?
This is a disease process that is brought on by some other type of serious illness. It is often referred to as the waste syndrome, and as that name implies, that is exactly what begins to happen to the patient. Cachexia symptoms include extreme muscle weakness and atrophy, or the wasting away of muscle tissue. Typically, a person that is suffering from the condition will experience weight loss, general fatigue and marked weakness, along with the loss of appetite. The thing that really sets this condition apart from other diseases is that a person can start to lose muscle mass at a dramatic rate without losing fatty tissue. It is also far different from other types of conditions at the cellular level. It is a type of metabolic syndrome that causes cells to respond differently inside the body. Eventually, the body literally begins to waste away as the muscle tissue essentially feeds on itself. This only serves to further weaken the individual in question, thereby weakening the immune system, essential internal organs and ultimately, resulting in death. This particular process is common with other diseases such as heart failure, cancer, AIDS, and COPD. It can also occur along with other chronic diseases which have been overtaxing the body for some time. Generally speaking, this disease is thought of as one of the final signs that death is imminent. It is only a question of timing once a person starts to experience the ravages of a particular disease and the Cachexia starts to take hold.
When Signs of Cachexia Appear
During the initial stages of this condition, some individuals might mistake the signs of the disease for regular weight loss that is associated with the original disease process. This is especially true when a person has been suffering from cancer or something similar, as these diseases typically caused marked weight loss anyway. However, the major difference between this particular condition and other disease processes involves the loss of most or all muscle tissue. As previously mentioned, fatty tissue is not affected. Therefore, a person that begins to lose muscle mass without losing weight in other areas of the body could be displaying signs from this disease, as that is one of the hallmark symptoms. In addition, it is important to recognize these symptoms as quickly as possible so that additional medical care can be initiated. While it is virtually impossible to reverse the course of disease at this point, it is possible to provide medical care that is designed to make the patient more comfortable.
There have been many attempts to find an effective treatment for this condition, but so far, all of them have essentially started and ended in the lab. For one reason or another, usually because of potentially dangerous side effects, the medications that have been tested as a direct treatment for this disorder have not been approved. Currently, treatment for the condition typically centers around making sure that the patient is comfortable and reducing pain levels as much as possible. However, it is important to be aware of any other potential medical treatments that can be utilized, even when those treatments are not necessarily considered to be mainstream. In fact, the use of medical marijuana as an effective treatment for the condition has been brought up repeatedly, largely because it is thought that it will be better able to control the symptoms of the disorder than anything else that has been developed thus far.
Management of the Condition
Medical marijuana is one of the most effective methods for managing the condition, especially when it is associated with excessive pain. It is not designed to treat the condition or reverse its course, but instead to provide a certain level of comfort for the patient that may not be found through any other means. There are several reasons that medical marijuana can potentially help to regulate this condition more effectively than other treatments. First and foremost, its use relaxes the patient in a way that few other medications can and it comes with fewer side effects than other medications that have already been approved. In addition, it is extremely effective in helping to relieve pain. For anyone that is suffering from this condition in conjunction with a disease process that causes a great deal of pain, the use of medical marijuana to manage the condition might be the only thing that stands between them being able to find some much-needed relief or suffering a great deal. Therefore, it is considered a potentially viable treatment for the condition in many cases ( Tazi 2010). With that being said, it still has not been approved for treatment of this or any other condition across the board. Due to the current laws that exist in many states, it is often rather difficult for patients to find the relief that they are looking for. It is unfortunate that these individuals are unable to find this much-needed relief in some cases, but others have decided to take matters into their own hands and travel wherever they need to go in order to get it.
It is imperative to remember that a patient that is in this condition is essentially looking for nothing more than palliative care, or a way to maintain as much comfort as possible. The idea is to keep patients as comfortable as possible without doing anything that will cause more harm than what they are already going through. It is believed that medical marijuana is one of the most effective forms of treatment. This point becomes even more important to understand when the fact is considered that most readily available medications are often insufficient to produce any appreciable relief from the pain that many patients are going through. It is equally important to note that using medical marijuana can also help to calm their minds and their emotional states as well as reducing physical pain. This is vitally important for anyone who finds themselves in this position and it is something that is worth considering when palliative care becomes the only available option.
Options for Patients
What are the current options available to patients who are dealing with this particular type of problem? Essentially, the only option is to travel to a state that has legalized the use of medical marijuana. With that being said, it typically isn’t enough to merely travel to one of those states and walk into a location that sells it. Instead, it is important to work with a physician that realizes the importance of such treatment so that it can be carefully monitored. This not only allows physicians to monitor the patient in question, but it also provides additional research material, hopefully material that can be used in favor of its legalization across the board at some point in the future.
No one really enjoys thinking about these types of diseases, but it is unfortunately a part of reality. Whether the problem involves you or someone close to you, the goal is to find the best care possible. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always involve finding a cure for a particular disease. Frequently, it involves finding a way to effectively manage the disease in order to give the individual who has been stricken an opportunity to live life to the fullest extent possible for as long as they can. The use of medical marijuana should not be discounted, but instead considered a viable option when dealing with these types of diseases. In many cases, it could well be the only thing that does provide the necessary amount of relief without putting the patient in even more danger than they are already in. As a direct result, it is important to build from the research that has already been done concerning its use and then create additional research so that it can be backed up, both now and in the future. Hopefully, that will make it easier for patients who are depending on it to have access to it when they need it most as opposed to forcing them to travel out of state in order to potentially find the treatment they need.