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Lipodystrophy and WastingLipodystrophy and Wasting
          
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Body Mass Index
Mar 31, 2003

I have been HIV for the past 13 years and have wasting syndrome......my dr. wants to do a Body Mass Index----how relevant is it to determine the extent of wasting? Thank you very much.

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

Your doctor probably wants to do a BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis) and most likely has the info he/she needs to figure body mass index (BMI).

BMI is a number assigned to how much you weigh for how tall you are. So, if you have a height and weight you can get your body mass index (even on this site... see the black and gold icon that says "calculate your body mass index, click here to do this yourself).

A BIA gives you and your team an idea of where your weight is... body cell mass (muscle and organ tissues), extracellular mass (bone, collagen, fluid outside of cells), and fat. This will help to categorize the type of wasting seen (due to "starvation" or due to "acute or chronic disease") and will help to determine the best types of therapies to overcome the problem.

BIA is a painless test that involves taking off your right foot coverings and placing electrodes on your hand and foot while you lie down and relax. The readings are entered into the computer and estimates of your different body compartments are calculated.

If your body cell mass makes up most of the weight loss that occurs, it is especially detrimental to your health and would be a good thing to know to shore this up. Your body cell mass is where most of your calories are used and the primary place for your nutrients and medications to be processed... important stuff!

Best wishes!


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