What Is the Meaning of Hypermetabolic?

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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

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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.


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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.


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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.