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Lipodystrophy and WastingLipodystrophy and Wasting
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What Is Ideal?
Jun 13, 2002

Dear Dr. Fields-Gardner:

My question and your reply are below. I have another question below your last response.

My niece was recently diagnosed with AIDs. She's had the virus over 10 years without knowing it. The day after Christmas she suffered a collapsed lung, has had 2 lung surgeries since then, (for pneumonia and Aspergillus) and continues to battle opportunistic infections. She has gone from 95 lbs. down to 78 lbs. She is on many medications to make her eat, anti-depressants, etc. I thinks she's taking 17 pills a day. My question is this: With being 5'3" tall, and only weighing 80 lbs., how long can she go on at this weight? If she continues to lose, and doesn't gain, at what point will her body just shut down?

Thank you for your help.

Sleepless in Orangevale

Dear Sleepless, Even at 95 pounds, she was pretty light weight. So, in this case, I would say that more aggressive measures might be needed. Talk with her doctor about the possibility of nutrition support... this may mean tube feeding or feeding directly into the veins, depending on how well the gut functions.

The body tends to "shut down" when it reaches around 60-66 of normal weight or, more specifically, when the body cell mass (muscle and organ tissues) reach a low of around 55 of ideal. So, at this point, the problem should be urgently addressed with all the precautions that are normally put into place for such feeding styles.

Dear Dr. Fields-Gardner,

What do you mean by "ideal"? For 5'3", tiny-boned, is 115 ideal? I need somewhere to start to figure 55, 60-66, etc.

Thanks for your help.


Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

Dear Sleepless,

Thanks again for your question. The range of ideal for a woman who is 5'3" is somewhere between 103 pounds and 127 pounds... lower end for small frames and higher end for larger frames.

Best regards again!

Muscle wasting
Facial Wasting: Non-HIV related reasons

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