Wasting syndrome is a very serious condition related to AIDS, whereby the patient afflicted with the disease involuntarily loses 10% of his weight along with a 30 day period of fever, diarrhea or weakness. This syndrome comes to existence because of either low intake of food, malabsorption or an altered metabolic rate. Wasting syndrome leads to excessive weight loss in the form of a loss in muscle and fat.
Generally, people suffering from AIDS have a small appetite because of the nature of the disease which musters infections in the throat and the mouth, and also because some of the drugs are to be taken on an empty stomach. Furthermore, the side effects of these drugs can also have a negative impact on the diet as they tend to cause nausea, produce a perpetually bitter sense of taste and cause tingling sensations all around the inner area of the mouth.
Another reason why wasting syndrome is so common among individuals with AIDS is because of a dysfunctional small intestine. Usually, under healthy conditions, it is the job of the small intestine to absorb all the nutrients that provide for energy and stimulate various functions of the body. Patients suffering from AIDS may have small intestines affected with infections, which may interfere in the process of nutrient absorption, leading to malabsorption and hence, weight loss and wasting syndrome.
Lastly, people suffering from HIV experience an altered metabolic rate. This means that their ability to process foods and build proteins gets affected. Either way, afflicted individuals need more calories to maintain normal body weight as it is, and with an immune system with an increased capacity, that makes it all the more challenging, leading to wasting syndrome.
Wasting syndrome symptoms are not too profound and happen to be very limited in number. The three basic wasting syndrome symptoms are as follows:
The treatments prescribed for wasting syndrome primarily deal with each cause for the condition separately. One of the most basic treatments rendered for wasting syndrome involves reducing nausea and vomiting which is caused by drug intake, in order to increase appetite. Megace and marinol, are appetite stimulants which are also commonly used to rectify the condition of wasting syndrome. Surprisingly so, HIV enthusiasts have been urging to legalize marijuana, as marijuana ha sthe impact of reducing nausea and stimulating appetite!
A second line of treatment deals with alleviating diarrhea that prevails through wasting syndrome and treating infections raiding the small intestine. By doing so, poor absorption of nutrients can be rectified and lead to potential weight gain and avoidance from wasting syndrome.
Thirdly and lastly, by altering the metabolic rate back to normalized levels, the condition of wasting syndrome can be helped. Various different hormones, such as the human growth hormone, are being examined in this regard. However, this type of treatment is highly expensive ad it conditioned to various side effects as well.