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Hypermetabolism and Recovery


Hypermetabolism is characterized by an increase in the body’s basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which the body uses energy while at rest.

The basal metabolic rate controls functions like breathing and maintaining warmth. When the basal metabolic rate increases, weight loss can sometimes occur.

What Causes Hypermetabolism?

Hypermetabolism usually occurs when the body has endured a large injury or trauma. Surgery, infections, bone marrow transplants and steroid therapy are just a few events that can lead to hypermetabolism.

The condition could also be a result of hyperthyroidism, which increases metabolism.

Symptoms of Hypermetabolism

Some of the most prominent symptoms of hypermetabolism are anemia, fatigue and weight loss. Those suffering with the health issue may also experience rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeats, insomnia, muscle weakness and nervousness.

Because hypermetabolism raises the temperature of the body, some may feel increased sensitivity to heat or experience excessive sweating.

Identifying the Cause

A positron emission tomography, or PET scan, can be performed to identify the cause of hypermetabolism within the body.

The scan is performed by injecting a radioactive substance into the patient's vein. After one hour, the patient lies on a table that is slid into a tunnel-shaped scanner. The results will then highlight exact areas of the body causing the increased metabolism rate.

Although hypermetabolism is merely a symptom and not a disease, it is important to identify the underlying illness causing the increased rate.

Recovering From Anorexia and Bulimia

In early stages of recovery, those who have suffered from anorexia or bulimia may experience hypermetabolism. Because there is a starvation period associated with both eating disorders, the metabolic rate of the body greatly decreases. When the body resumes normal functioning, the metabolic rate increases exponentially before stabilizing at a normal rate.

Source: Wise Geek