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Exercise, Aging and HIV

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by Dr. Chapa Kiuno, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. Dr. Chapa Kiuno

    Dr. Chapa Kiuno JF-Expert Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Joined: Sep 11, 2009
    Messages: 445
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    As dietitians, we spend most of our time with clients talking about what they should eat. What some people might not realize is that dietitians are the first to admit diet alone doesn't cut it (shocking, we know). In the never-ending battle to lengthen life, exercise is essential.

    As we age, our bodies' ability to get up and go can sometimes be impaired, leaving us with the question, "What's so 'golden' about the golden years?" If heart disease, osteoporosis, and declining mental status are in some cases inevitable, why are we working so hard? HIV researchers may be wondering the same thing.

    Since HIV attacks the immune system, and older adults in general have a greater turnover of CD4 cells, we have to ask how the combination of the two affects immune health. Older adults with HIV have a greater CD4 cell loss than younger people. It remains to be seen if those infected in their youth will experience a greater rate of CD4 cell turnover as they age.
    Heart disease (cardiovascular disease) is the number one cause of death for both older men and older women. Its risk increases with age, and our genes are still the most important factor in its development. Smoking, obesity, a poor diet, and inactivity also play a role. These risk factors can be eliminated by making certain lifestyle changes. But are those changes as effective in older adults with HIV?
    There is very little known about how HIV treatments will affect the conditions commonly seen in aging. We know that HIV meds increase the risk of body fat complications. In an effort to combat these, doctors recommend behavior changes to improve cardiovascular health. Are these changes, such as exercise, as effective for an HIV-positive 65-year-old? The relationship is complex and the answer is still unclear.
    While we are always learning more about treatment approaches for older adults with HIV, we don't have much to work with other than the methods used for HIV-negative older adults. Physical activity is key in the prevention and treatment of chronic illness. Even though we may not have all the answers, it is important to look at the facts and where we stand today in order.

    Source: http://www.thebody.com/content/art54794.html