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Lipodystrophy and WastingLipodystrophy and Wasting
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How likely am I to develop lipodystrophy?
May 14, 2001

Dear Experts, Is there any officical data on what of people taking HAART will develop lipodystrophy? If not, do you have an unofficial (even a guess) of what may develop this? My current drug therapy that I've been on for a few months is going great (had been on different combos for 4 years with little results - now my t-cells have gone from 7 to 90 and my VL has dropped from 98,000 to 4,000)and I've gained a much needed 30lbs (5'9" and I now weigh 155lbs.). I can't help but think that too much of this weight is in my belly (which I've been told is where men unfortunately tend to normally gain weight) and I've been convinced that either it is lipodystrophy or that lipodystrophy will DEFINITELY be in my future. What do you think - is lipodystrophy inevitable? Thanks, S.

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

At this point, there is only speculation about the inevitability of body shape changes. Not all bellies are the same. As far as your belly is concerned, before you jump to conclusions about having fat accumulation forms of lipodystrophy, you should get it checked.

As for risk factors, there are several guesses there. Interestingly, it seems that if you don't have a non-drug risk factor (risk factor other than anti-HIV drugs), it may be less common to experience physical alterations. These risk factors may include some of the viral load changes and increases in CD4 count. How much weight you gain may make a difference and age over 40 may increase your risk. Keep a close eye on it along with your lab values and work with your team to take a proactive stance. Make sure the team is aware of other risk factors such as family history of diabetes, smoking, lack of exercise, and other things that are typically in a medical history.

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