WHY IT HAPPENS

A number of factors may contribute to HIV-associated wasting1

HIV-associated wasting is complicated, and the exact cause is unknown. However, there are several theories as to why it may occur.

WHY IT HAPPENS

A number of factors may contribute to HIV-associated wasting1

HIV-associated wasting is complicated, and the exact cause is unknown. However, there are several theories as to why it may occur.

Experts believe that a number of factors contribute to HIV-associated wasting1

EXPAND ALL

CLOSE ALL

  • The body turns food into energy through a series of processes known as metabolism2
  • An abnormal metabolism changes how the body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins1,3,4
  • If your metabolism is abnormal, your body may draw energy from lean body mass (LBM)1,3,4
  • Losing LBM means you are also losing1,3,4
    • Muscle
    • Organ tissue
    • Blood cells
    • Bone
    • Water
  • Diarrhea can be caused by several factors, including5,6:
    • Infections
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Food allergies and intolerances
    • Digestive tract problems
    • Side effects of medications
  • Diarrhea can lead to abdominal pain, dehydration, weight loss, and other health problems3
  • Inflammation occurs naturally in the body as a response to infection, stress, trauma, and cell injury7
  • It helps control tissue damage7
  • If the body produces too much inflammation, metabolism may change, muscle can break down, and you may have less or no appetite1,8
  • Testosterone is a hormone that helps maintain muscle mass, bone growth, adequate levels of red blood cells, and sexual function9
  • Low levels of this hormone may result in significant loss of lean body mass1,3
  • Growth hormone (GH) resistance involves a decrease or absence of the effects of GH in the body1,3
  • Your body may be having trouble using the GH it makes naturally or it may not be making enough of the GH it needs1,3
  • Loss of LBM may occur if your body is resistant to or has trouble using GH1,3
  • Infections may make food difficult to swallow or cause a loss of appetite
  • You may skip meals due to this discomfort
  • Some infections have been reported to cause changes in metabolism or to increase the body’s caloric needs10
  • Increased energy needs and decreased nutrient intake may result in weight loss1,8

This is not a complete list of all the factors that may contribute to HIV-associated wasting. Remember that only your healthcare provider can diagnose you with HIV-associated wasting, so this list should not replace the advice of a medical professional.

Show References

Hide References

  1. Gelato M, McNurlan M, Freedland E. Role of recombinant human growth hormone and HIV-associated wasting and cachexia: pathophysiology and rationale for treatment. Clin Ther. 2007;29(11):2269-2288.
  2. Medical Dictionary. Metabolism. The Free Dictionary. www.medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/metabolism. Accessed August 30, 2018.
  3. Dudgeon WD, Phillips KD, Carson JA, Brewer JA, Durstine JL, Hand GA. Counteracting muscle wasting in HIV-infected individuals. HIV Med. 2006;7(5):299-310.
  4. Demling R. The use of anabolic agents in catabolic states. Journal of Burns and Wounds. 2007;6:33-49.
  5. MacArthur RD, DuPont HL. Etiology and pharmacologic management of noninfectious diarrhea in HIV-infected individuals in the Highly Active Antiretroviral era. Clin Infect Dis. 2012;55(6):860-867.
  6. National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Issues. Symptoms & Causes of Diarrhea. National Institutes of Health. www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information-digestive-diseases-diarrhea-symptoms-causes. Accessed August 30, 2018.
  7. Medical Dictionary. Inflammation. The Free Dictionary. www.medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/inflammation. Accessed August 30, 2018.
  8. Deeks SG, Russell T, Douek DC. Systemic effects of inflammation on health during chronic HIV infection. Immunity. 2013;39(4):633-645.
  9. Medical Dictionary. Testosterone. The Free Dictionary. www.medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/testosterone. Accessed August 30, 2018.
  10. Wasserman P, Segal-Maurer S, Wehbeh W, Rubin DS. Wasting disease, chronic immune activation, and inflammation in the HIV-infected patient. Top Clin Nutr. 2011;26(1):14-28.