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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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May 19, 2004

I have known of my + Status since 1996. I began treatment and have remained relatively free of major problems, until; In July of 2002. (prior to this time, I had repeatedly compained of exhaustion, and of losing my breath as soon as I moved.) I was having a terrible time breathing, feeling very weak and dizzy, to the point of "sit down or fall down". I could barely walk, but when at rest I was able to re-catch my breath. After two trips to the ER it was suggested that I have an Echocardiogram. That visit resulted in immediate hospitalization and the determinization that my blood ejection rate was only 10% of what it should have been. A 'Schwanz' (?) catheter was inserted. My surgeon, who had expected blocked arteries, said there was none. The diagnosis was "Cardiomyopathy", a dilation of the heart muscle. When my Infectious Disease doctor came to my room, he handed me a report from the New England Journal of Medicine(1999)that explained; those who had taken Protease inhibitors, had shown links to severe premature coronary artery disease.I had been taking Viracept for the previous five years. I have lost a lot of weight, and look almost skeletal. I want to exercise to rebuild my body, but I'm so short of breath that exercise lasts only minutes. That was a very long story, to ask your advise re: 'Exercise', how and what to do. Also, to point out the danger of Viracept.Thanks for addressing this topic. Steven F

Response from Dr. Henry

There are many causes of cardiomypathy including HIV itself possibly. If you arteries are OK then coronary aratery disease seems unlikely (risk factors for that include smoking, diabets, high blood pressure, high lipids). Your case sounds a bit unusual so thank you for alerting my and the readers to it. Cardiac rehabilitation is usually the type of program than I refer patients to design an optimal exercise regimen that fits each patients needs. KH

Sustiva (EFV) and Combivir (AZT/3TC) Timing
Will testostarone levels recover without help?

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