Everything You Should Know About Refeeding Syndrome

by Miral khattak
36 views
Refeeding Syndrome

Electrolytes help your body break down food, and quick changes in them can lead to refeeding syndrome. Some health problems, like anorexia, alcohol use disorder, and more, can make you more likely to get this condition. 

What Does Refeeding Syndrome Mean?

Refeeding Syndrome Mean

Refeeding means giving someone food again after they have been malnourished or starved. Refeeding syndrome is a dangerous illness that can be fatal and can happen during refeeding. Changes in the chemicals that help your body break down food are to blame.

It’s hard to say how common refeeding syndrome is because there isn’t a single description. Anyone can have refeeding syndrome. But it usually comes after a time of 

Malnutrition, fasting, and severe dieting

Drought and hunger

If you have anorexia, an alcohol use problem, cancer, or trouble swallowing (dysphagia), you may be more likely to get this condition.

You may also be more at risk after some treatments. 

Why does it Happen?

does it Happen

Your body changes how it uses calories when you don’t eat. One hormone that does this is insulin, which turns carbs into glucose (sugar). Insulin production slows down when carbohydrate intake is greatly lessened.

In the lack of carbs, the body gets energy from fats and proteins that have been stored. This change can drain sodium stores over time. An element called phosphate is often changed. It helps your cells turn glucose into energy. 

Why does it Happen?

Your body changes how it uses calories when you don’t eat. One hormone that does this is insulin, which turns carbs into glucose (sugar). Insulin production slows down when carbohydrate intake is greatly lessened.

In the lack of carbs, the body gets energy from fats and proteins that have been stored. This change can drain sodium stores over time. An element called phosphate is often changed. It helps your cells turn glucose into energy. 

  • Sodium and fluid levels that aren’t usual changes in how fat, glucose, or protein are burned
  • lacking in thiamine
  • Hypomagnesemia means “low magnesium.”
  • Hypokalemia means “low potassium.” 
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Refeeding syndrome can lead to sudden problems that are deadly. Some signs of refeeding syndrome are:
  • feeling tired
  • not strong enough
  • more trouble
  • not being able to breathe
  • A lot of blood pressure
  • Having seizures
  • Heartbeat problems
  • not enough heart
  • coma
  • a death 

Most of the time, these signs show up four days after the refeeding process begins. There’s no way to know who will get sick before starting treatment, even though some people at risk don’t get sick. So, protection is critical.

  • Causes of risk
  • There are clear things that put people at risk for refeeding syndrome. You might be in danger if any of these things are true about you:
  • Based on your BMI, you are under 16 pounds.
  • Between 3 and 6 months, you’ve lost more than 15% of your body weight.
  • For ten days or more, you haven’t eaten much or any, or well below the number of calories your body usually needs to keep working. 

Your low amounts of serum phosphate, potassium, or magnesium were found in a blood test.

You may also be at risk if any two or more of the following are true:

Your BMI is less than 18.5.

Between 3 and 6 months, you’ve lost more than 10% of your body weight.

You haven’t eaten much or anything for at least five days.

You have a history of alcoholism or taking certain drugs, like insulin, cancer drugs, diuretics, or antacids.

If these things describe you, you should immediately get emergency medical help.

Other things can also make you more likely to get refeeding syndrome. You could be in danger if you: 

  • Suffer from anorexia nervosa
  • Have a long-term alcohol use problem, cancer, diabetes that isn’t under control, malnutrition, recent surgery, or a history of taking antacids or diuretics. 

How to Treat

How to Treat

Refeeding syndrome is a terrible illness. Problems that need quick attention can show up out of the blue. Because of this, people at risk need to be supervised by doctors in a hospital or other specialised centre. The treatment should be overseen by a group of people with knowledge of both gastroenterology and dietetics. 

More research needs to be done to find the best way to treat refeeding syndrome. Usually, treatment includes giving the person more electrolytes and slowing down the refeeding process.

Replacing calories should happen slowly, at about 20 per kilogram of body weight, or about 1,000 calories per day.

Blood tests are often done to check the amounts of electrolytes. People often get IV infusions to restore electrolytes based on their body weight. However, this method might not Be suitable for people who: 

Not working well, kidneys

Hypocalcemia means “low calcium.”

Hypercalcemia means “high calcium.”

Additionally, fluids are slowly added back in. Sodium (salt) substitutes may also need to be closely watched. Heart tracking may be needed for people at risk of heart problems. 

Get Better

How quickly you recover from refeeding syndrome depends on how badly you were malnourished before you started eating again. Feeding again could take up to 10 days, and you’ll need to be watched afterwards.

Also, refeeding often happens simultaneously with other severe conditions that need care simultaneously.

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More