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Author Topic: Losing fat or muscles?  (Read 1943 times)

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Offline alhn

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  • Everything Happens For Me..Not to me
Losing fat or muscles?
« on: January 06, 2009, 03:07:10 AM »
I have only been on medication for a year - Combivir and Stocrin that is.

I used to have fleshy arms. Lately I noticed that the arms have gone thinner ( well, in a way I am happy cos now I wont feel shy about wearing sleeveless shirts) but then I'm just wondering if the medication could have caused fat movements? Thinner arms and legs but sadly...havent got a flatter tummy!  ;D

I have heard about this but didnt think my combination would have cause that.

And I do cardio exercises in the gym - and I'm definitely not that type to lose weight at any part of my body that easily.

Anyone experienced this before?

Offline Veritee

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Re: Losing fat or muscles?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2009, 06:08:45 AM »
Hi alhn and all
I hope it is OK if I respond on here too?  As I guess I can not help you directly as I have similar questions and am seeking answers too, for similar reasons

 As you may already know as I have posted a bit about this in the woman’s forum.

But maybe it will help get opinions if I add mine to yours or at least it will be recorded that we have theses body fat distribution changes even though we have not been on medication for long enough for it to be thought to be caused by HIV medication.

I first noticed a huge change in my fat distribution in my body about 2006/7 which was quite sudden but constantly increases and continues to do so.

My changes are – much too thin legs with no fat/padding at all, they feel very hard and sinuous to touch and unlike they have ever been before as I had previously whatever my weight, thin or fat, nicely feminine rounded legs, a wasted much smaller butt, and arms that were once too fleshy and large but now the flesh and skin hangs off,  yet huge breasts !! – well huge for me as I was never bigger than a B cup whatever my weight but now I am a DD, and a far too big stomach which rounds out from just below my breasts indicating fat around my internal organs that I never had before. I have tired and continue to go to the gym but while that makes me lose weight it does not change the strange distribution of my weight

(this description sounds awful doesn’t it!! and for me who until I was 53 ish always had a good and in proportion body it is not good! LOL But I do not usually dwell on it and make the best of it and adjust my clothing, hair and make up to compensate for the changes) 

But it does not seem like lipodystrophy as such as it does not follow the patterns I have seen described here or on other sites and in the information literature I have i.e I do not have a wasted face nor a hump etc

And I noticed theses changes about 2006 which was long before I was diagnosed HIV - as diagnosed HIV in Jan 2008 – and of course before I was put on HIV meds which was April/May 2008. I am now on Atripla.

It could be age related of course? but I really do not think so as the changes were so drastic and sudden and with age it happens much more slowly.

 And I always had a good figure and body proportions and even if my weight fluctuated as it does for women  after pregnancy, menopause etc yet I still retained my overall body shape – but now the shape I am when I look in the mirror is like a stranger who is not me.

Anyway I am sorry if I can not help alhn but I am wondering if this is due to HIV infection itself and not meds as I certainly so not think I have not been on them long enough for meds to cause this and also the changes started to happen a couple of years before the meds?

I am also wondering if this might be something that specifically affects women with HIV?
As I have now talked to a few women with similar body changes, yet no men have the same pattern that I know of.

Also my husband who got HIV just before me and was untreated for the same time as me - and also male friend who had untreated HIV -  bodies have changed through undiagnosed HIV but with him/them it is proportionate in that he/they are thin all over. My husband eats like a horse but does not put weight on – he has only been on meds since February 2008 also so as yet does not have any HIV med related body lumps or fat.

But his pattern of weight loss, redistribution of body fat is defiantly very different from mine and more uniform – also I suppose he does not have breasts like I do that seem at the moment most of my body fat is graduating to LOL .

 My consultant does confirm that some with undiagnosed/untreated HIV do have this sort of body change – but it has not improved as yet since I have been on the meds.

I just wondered if anyone has any info or experience of this, or knows of research that has been done specifically on women and untreated HIV and body fat redistribution. As I am sure it is this and that my pattern as a woman is very different from the men I now know with HIV.


I have a blog here, please do not judge me on what I say here- I need to offload and this is where I do it: http://hiv-and-us.blogspot.com/

Offline Veritee

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Re: Losing fat or muscles?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2009, 07:14:21 AM »
I am sorry if my too long and complicated reply drew focus away from anyone answering alhn's questions.

So I hope members can please ignore what I said and if you can address alhn's concerns
I have a blog here, please do not judge me on what I say here- I need to offload and this is where I do it: http://hiv-and-us.blogspot.com/

Offline alhn

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  • Posts: 19
  • Everything Happens For Me..Not to me
Re: Losing fat or muscles?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2009, 09:44:28 PM »
HI Veritee..

Thanks for sharing your experience, be it short or long ! hahaha...I appreciate it.

I also feel that this issue needs to be addressed to most people. Being in Asia myself, sometimes the doctor are not very verbal about most possible side effects which may occur. And most of the time, I have to read alot and then ask the doctors what I need to know in my next check up.

I am indeed very happy I have learned a lot from a lot of people here in the forum.

Anyway back to the topic, fyi, I try to go to gym whenever I can after work to do a at least 45 minutes cardio on a machines. I have not been lifting weights for a while now so maybe I should get back to it to tone up the muscles. Having said that, I was also told by someone that I have not been on medication long enough to even consider these effects ( which I think you are right too). I have been on meds for only a year.

Veritee, I see the similarity in you with 2 of my female friends (who are POZ and has been on medication for 8 to 10 years now). They have very thin legs and hands, with a rounder tummy.
But on the other hand, a male friend ( who has been on meds for more than 15 years now) is bony and very thin and eats like a horse too! :)) ..not an ounce of fat in his body because we can clearly see 6 packs on his abs! LOL!!

Anyway, this are just my observation with people I know here. Not sure if there are others out there who may be in same situation.


Offline joemutt

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Re: Losing fat or muscles?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2009, 11:07:39 PM »
My own experience; I had some fatty tissue loss, fat redistribution (belly more, limbs less).
I was on combivir until two years ago. (Maybe the azt component in it is the culprit,
maybe it's taking meds for a longer time, maybe it's the hiv, maybe it's my middle age)
Also my lipid profile (cholesterol) was off. I pushed this back with diet (no sugar, no desserts, etc) and exercise (yoga). If I let go of the diet even for a little while the cholesterol rises.
Lately I have been feeling pain in my muscles and bones, I think I lost the necessary fatty tissue that cushions them.
After I kicked the azt my body didnt return to its previously glorious size and shape but it didnt get any worse.
I dont like exercise but I have to, the yoga is quite intense but so is my muscle tone and stamina as a result. I lost 9 kgs but gained back 3 (boyfriend likes to eat  ;) ) I also live in Asia.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 11:13:09 PM by joemutt »


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