WHAT if marked by rapid decline and death. When its fat stores gone, the body now relies primarily on protein breakdown to meet its energy needs. Thus, there is a progressive wasting away of the muscles and weakening of the body. The adrenal cortex may stop producing glucocorticoids, making it difficult to maintain glucose homeostasis. Water retention that it creates a state of hypotension, and while it conserved sodium, it hastens the elimination of potassium and hydrogen ions. This creates a state of hypokalemia (potassium deficiency in the blood) and alkalosis (excessively high blood pH), resulting in nervous and muscular system dysfunctions. Death frequently results from heart failure, kidney failure, or overwhelming infection.