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Lipodystrophy and WastingLipodystrophy and Wasting
           
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wasting without losing weight
Nov 16, 2002

Do you see very much muscle wasting while gaining weight due to extreme fat gain? So a patient might actually be gaining weight on the scale, however becoming more bony and fat at the same time?

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

This can happen. This type of change in body composition usually involves changes in metabolism rather than just eating differently.

The hope is that if a person loses a lot of weight and muscle tissue because they aren't getting enough in the calorie and protein departments, they will regain it all when they start eating well again. This may not happen if there have been some metabolic changes, such as adaptation to inactivity because of fatigue from weight and muscle losses. Or, changes related to chronic disease and infection that make it quite difficult to reconstruct protein tissues while allowing fat to deposit. In some cases a person may even meet the definition of "obese" while continuing to be wasted in important protein tissues.

You can get an estimate of your situation by having a body composition evaluation done. Start with a combination of anthropometry (measures of the body's dimensions including circumferences and fatfolds -- those are the caliper-pinch measures) and BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis). Have these interpreted by someone who is familiar with changes in body composition such as those you mention.

If you are experiencing this type of problem, it is unlikely that just eating well will solve it. The next step is to work with your team to determine the most likely culprits causing metabolic changes and the most reasonable course of action.

Remember that this type of change is not just cosmetic. Without those crucial protein body stores, your body cannot function as well as it needs to in order to keep you functioning and healthy-living!


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