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Lipodystrophy and WastingLipodystrophy and Wasting
           
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Loss Of Lean Body Mass & Body Changes
Aug 8, 2001

I have been Hiv+ for 10 years and have been noticing a problem over the past 5 years or so. My body shape is changing. I have not lost any weight and have good counts and an undetectable viral load. But still my arms and legs seem to be getting more defined. You can see the veins and and muscles more. The muscles also seen to be getting smaller and fatiged easier. I am and have always been about 30 lbs overweight. I feel like my arms and legs are not in proportion with my weight. Is this normal and is there anything I should worry about? Also can I do anything to reverse it?? Thanks

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

Your experiences are similar to many clients with chronic HIV infection. I am not sure that anyone is clear on what is "normal" in this case. What seems to be true, however, is that the changes you are experiencing are affected by and will affect your body's ability to maintain normal hormonal and nutritional balances.

Work with your doctor to take a look at some risk factors for developing fat losses under the skin. These may include some things that you can explore risks vs. benefits of changing and some things that you cannot change (such as getting older). If problems such as insulin resistance and hypogonadism are part of your clinical profile, you may want to talk with your doctor about medications that can help to keep it in check. There are many theories about the causes, consequences, and treatments for the problems you describe. The best source for action will be your health care team.

In any case, you should be exercising and you may want to talk with your doctor about referring you to get an exercise prescription from a physical therapist. You might also benefit from a referral to check your diet to see if any dietary issues may contribute to the problems or strategies can be used to reduce the effects you are concerned about.


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