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Lipodystrophy and WastingLipodystrophy and Wasting
           
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In preparation for Medication
Jul 5, 2002

I was diagnosed with HIV 2 months ago and currently have a low viral load and normal T-cell counts. Reading all this on lipodysrophy is scaring me and I want to know if there is anything I can do in preparation for when I have to go on medication. I currently workout, both cardio and weight lift to stay in shape, by keeping in shape and and a low body fat percentage, will this help me when I have to go on medication? Can you suggest anything that I should be doing to keep my body in the best condition so that when I go on meds I will have minimal side affects, more specifically, wasting and lipodystrophy?

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

It is pretty daunting when you read the information available. While specifically keeping a low body fat percentage is unlikely to be protective against lipoatrophy (loss of subcutaneous fat).

Eating well and exercising are likely to be key factors in making sure that you minimize the potential for effects of wasting and lipodystrophy. There are a number of other thoughts that have been expressed about prevention from a "diet" point of view. Emphasis on fruits/vegetables or other foods containing high levels of nutrient and non-nutrient antioxidants as well as antioxidant supplements (don't go overboard here) have been recommended as a potential way to prevent "oxidative stress" that typically accompanies a chronic inflammatory disease such as HIV infection. And while fish oils are pretty weak as a treatment, there have been suggestions that increasing fish consumption may be helpful to reduce adverse effects of chronic inflammatory assaults on the body.

In addition, some have been trying to reduce an over-response of insulin to diet intake. While a high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet may be counterproductive, even distribution of carbohydrates (carb counting like that done in diabetic diets) has been discussed as a healthy possibility.

Other possibilities include smoking cessation, reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption, and keeping opportunistic infections or other assaults on your health to a minimum. You will want to keep track of your medications, body measures, and body composition. Ask your physician to plan on a routine examination of body shape measures (circumferences and fatfolds are low-tech and quite workable) and body composition.

Best wishes!


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