Treatment for AIDS wasting and Cachexia

AIDS wasting is the loss of at least 10% of body weight caused by the deterioration of muscle associated with the AIDS virus. Though AIDS wasting also causes fat loss, muscle loss is much more damaging to the human body.

There are many reasons that AIDS patients begin to lose muscle. One is a loss of appetite. Many of the drugs that are prescribed for AIDS patients cause nausea, and patients lose their will to eat. Another cause is poor nutrient absorption. Infections that are common in AIDS patients can discourage proper absorption of the nutrients that are necessary to maintain body mass. People with AIDS also have increased metabolisms; this forces them to intake more calories in order to prevent muscle deterioration. Other factors include altered hormone levels and an increase in their body's production of cytokines -- these cause a person's body to produce higher levels of fats and sugars than protein.

Unfortunately, AIDS patients often experience wasting because of a combination of these causes. Advanced wasting can result in death.

Cachexia is muscle wasting due to malnutrition. Often it is found in people with anorexia, or in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Anorexics do not eat enough for their bodies to receive the nutrients they need in order to maintain muscle. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often lost their appetites due to nausea.

A person's body transforms carbohydrates into the energy they need to survive. When a person does not eat enough to provide an adequate amount of energy, then their body must burn their fat reserves for that energy. After the fat reserves are emptied, their body then begins to burn muscle for energy.

Like AIDS wasting, cachexia is classified as a loss of at least 10% of body weight. Advanced muscle deterioration in cachexia patients can also result in death.

Human growth hormone is commonly used to treat AIDS wasting and cachexia. HGH works to build new muscle cells, increasing muscle density. Because your body can build new muscle cells, it is much easier to develop and maintain lean muscle.