Weight loss and wasting syndrome are two AIDS-related complications, if not treated properly, can be life-threatening. Although anti-HIV therapies have helped reduce the risk of weight loss and wasting syndrome, still occurring. According to a study published in late 1997, up to 25% of HIV-positive people receiving triple therapy of HIV drugs, continue to experience some degree of weight loss and / or wasting syndrome.
Is there a difference between weight loss and wasting syndrome?
Yes, as the name suggests, the weight loss refers to the loss of body weight. The wasting syndrome refers to the mass loss or decrease in the size of the body, muscle mass being more noticeable loss (sometimes called “lean body mass”). Often, both occur at the same time, but not always. Someone may be losing weight, not losing muscle mass. It is also possible that someone losing muscle mass, not weight much lower. For example, some HIV-positive people lose a large amount of muscle. However, experience an increase in fat. This would allow the weight is retained, but further loss (wear) of muscle mass.
In HIV-negative people, weight loss is usually not a major problem. For example, someone who is on a diet at some point lose weight. The body will burn fat deposits or blood cell, for not receiving food through food and to get the energy it needs. At the same time, the body works to protect proteins during periods of diet or physical activity. Protein is needed to build muscle, cells and organs. In other words, most people can tolerate the loss of fat, but they can not cope with the loss of proteins.
In people with HIV, especially during periods of illness (eg, MAC or tuberculosis), the body’s energy demands increase. In addition, the body must work hard to convert fat into energy. To save energy, the body can use protein as fuel and supply their energy needs. This is because proteins are more easily converted into energy than fat. The proteins also are needed to repair damaged organs and to replace lost cells of the immune system during periods of illness.
If there is not enough protein in the blood, which could occur if someone does not eat all the protein they should during times of illness, the body will look for another source of protein the body: muscle. Depending on the body’s energy needs, which vary according to the severity or duration of the disease, little or lose a lot of muscle. And while the loss of small amounts of muscle, usually not serious, the loss of large amounts of muscle can be dangerous.