The Latest on “Lipo”
by David Evans
Some lose fat and some gain it. But only lipoatrophy has been linked to HIV and its meds.
Lipoatrophy (fat loss) is one set of symptoms that fall under the catch-all term lipodystrophy. Lipoatrophy refers to a loss of body fat, notably in the limbs, whereas lipodystrophy also describes a buildup of fat deep within the body and unhealthy changes to fats and sugar in the blood. Initially experts thought that all of these symptoms were connected. But in recent years research has shown that it is more likely that they’re unique syndromes with different causes.
According to the large, ongoing Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) study, which started in 2000, the increase in fat in the belly and elsewhere in the body, dubbed lipohypertrophy, appears to be associated far more with age and lifestyle factors than with HIV infection or the drugs used to treat it. Lipoatrophy, however, was concluded to be a genuine HIV-related problem as it occurred much more frequently in HIV-positive than HIV-negative study volunteers.
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