Refeeding Syndrome - Symptoms, causes and treatment

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Refeeding Syndrome - Symptoms, causes and treatment
Refeeding Syndrome - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Refeeding syndrome or refeeding syndrome is a condition that can occur as a result of giving inappropriate nutritional therapy to patients with chronic malnutrition, including kwashiorkor and marasmus. If left untreated, refeeding syndrome can lead to death

Malnutrition can change the body's metabolism in processing nutrients. For example, a body that does not get enough carbohydrates to convert it into energy will take up stored fat and protein.

Refeeding Syndrome - Alodokter

Over time, this condition can affect phosphate levels, which is a type of electrolyte that helps the body convert glucose into energy.

Malnutrition can be treated with refeeding, namely providing nutrition through a feeding tube or infusion. However, if the patient's body receives nutrients too quickly, electrolyte levels can become imbalanced. These conditions can interfere with organ function so that patients are at risk of experiencing refeeding syndrome.

Causes of Refeeding Syndrome

Refeeding syndrome can occur when the body of a malnourished person receives nutrients too quickly or in large quantities. In addition, there are a number of factors that can increase a person's risk of developing refeeding syndrome, namely:

  • Weight lost in 3–6 months
  • Has a body mass index below 18
  • Consuming alcoholic beverages in excess
  • Has conditions that cause malabsorption, such as inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, and short bowel syndrome
  • Suffers from eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia
  • Has uncontrolled diabetes
  • Using antacids or diuretics excessively
  • Suffering from metabolic disorders due to cancer treatment
  • Undergoing treatment for morbid obesity with extreme diet

Symptoms of Refeeding Syndrome

Refeeding syndrome symptoms usually appear about 4 days from the start of the refeeding process. Symptoms and signs of refeeding syndrome can be:

  • stomach ache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Easy to get tired or lethargic
  • Daze
  • Difficulty breathing
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizure
  • Heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmia)
  • Comma

When to see a doctor

Immediately go to the nearest hospital emergency room to consult a doctor if you or your family experience symptoms of refeeding syndrome. It is important to remember that an examination by a doctor needs to be done immediately to prevent the condition from getting worse.

Diagnosing Refeeding Syndrome

To diagnose refeeding syndrome, the doctor will ask questions related to the patient's symptoms and medical history, along with checking vital signs such as blood pressure and pulse.

Furthermore, the doctor will perform a blood test to detect signs of refeeding syndrome, which can be:

  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • Low phosphate (hypophosphatemia)
  • low sodium in the blood (hyponatremia)
  • low potassium (hypokalemia)
  • Low magnesium (hypomagnesemia)

Refeeding Syndrome Treatment

The treatment of refeeding syndrome will be adjusted according to the severity of the patient's condition. In patients who experience severe symptoms, doctors will first provide treatment so that their condition returns to stability.

If the patient's condition is stable, the doctor will take action to prevent the symptoms of refeeding syndrome from recurring. A number of treatments that can be carried out by doctors at the hospital include:

  • Providing nutrition slowly, increasing calories little by little
  • Infusion of fluids according to the patient's condition

Refeeding Syndrome Complications

Refeeding syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition. This condition can cause several complications in sufferers, such as damage to the heart, brain, or kidneys. In fact, refeeding syndrome can also cause death

Prevention of Refeeding Syndrome

Efforts to prevent refeeding syndrome are to reduce the risk of complications. Some ways that doctors can do are:

  • Evaluating the he alth conditions of people at risk for refeeding syndrome
  • Determining a refeeding program according to the condition of people with malnutrition and other he alth problems
  • Supervise the provision of nutrition and fluids to malnourished patients

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