Monday, June 2, 2008

HIV, AIDS Patients Embracing Exercise

"'This is definitely the best shape I've ever been in,’ Tanner said. ‘And it's ironic because I got so sick when I first became (HIV) positive, and now I'm the healthiest I've ever felt.’ Such a refrain is not unusual among HIV and AIDS patients. In the decade since protease inhibitor medications have helped manage the virus, many patients have either begun exercise regimens or resumed endurance training. Mounting evidence suggests that exercise not only provides a boost to well-being but also can help the immune system fight off illness and AIDS wasting disease by increasing muscle mass and improving heart and lung endurance. A 2006 Massachusetts General Hospital study found that exercise manages symptoms of "’metabolic syndrome,’ which increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Reports say as many as 45 percent of HIV-positive patients have the syndrome. And a 2005 Columbia University study found that moderate exercise, in combination with anti-retroviral drugs, led to improved nervous-system function and circulation in HIV patients. Such preliminary reports are heartening to people with HIV. Even so, many say that they would be exercising even if it showed no healthful indications.”

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