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What Is the Meaning of Hypermetabolic?

By Amanda Holden ; Updated July 27, 2017

An increased state of metabolism, hypermetabolism often occurs with injury or illness. Commonly found in cancer patients and those with eating disorders, a hypermetabolic state can have a detrimental affect on the afflicted individual.

Eating Disorders

When recovering from a state of prolonged starvation, an individual suffering from anorexia will enter a hypermetabolic state. During the period of starvation, the body will enter a lowered metabolic state. When the patient begins eating a normal diet once again, the body’s metabolism shoots up dramatically before stabilizing.

Cancer

Many cancerous tumors are hypermetabolic and PET scans exist that scan specifically for hypermetabolic regions within the body. Not all cancer shows up as hypermetabolic, but it is a clear symptom that doctors check for. Hypermetabolism shows up as a symptom in many advanced cancer patients as well.

Treatment

Hypermetabolism presents as a symptom of another problem, not as a disease in and of itself. To treat it, a doctor usually must treat the condition that causes the hypermetabolic state. Certain products and drugs exist to assist in the treatment of this symptom.

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