There are three words no one wants to hear: You have AIDS. It is different now than those in the 1980s when hearing a pronouncement of AIDS was a sure death sentence. There is more research today and AIDS patients have more treatment options that help them live longer. One of those treatment options is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), specifically therapy using the human growth hormone (HGH).
What Is Human Growth Hormone?
Everyone has HGH. It is a hormone that played a significant role in your youth because it was the growth hormone that helped you grow up. This hormone, produced by the pituitary gland in the brain, is the primary hormone responsible for things like height, weight, muscle mass, and proper growth of all organs.
This hormone is pumped out by the pituitary gland almost endlessly during childhood and adolescence. It floods your body at times, resulting in “growth spurts.” This continues through early adulthood, but production slows down as you move into adulthood. It drops drastically as you move into middle age and production dropping an average of 12 to 15 percent every 10 years afterward.
The production drop of this hormone affects many people physically. Some of the physical symptoms include a loss of muscle mass, a loss of strength, a loss of concentration, and a loss of energy.
How Is This Hormone Linked to AIDS?
Those who qualify for HRT primarily get injections with synthetic hormones that restart many of the functions lost when HGH production drops. Many of these same injections are used in AIDS treatment.
In fact, the treatment of HIV and AIDS is one of the legal uses for HGH in the United States. This hormone is typically associated with anti-aging or bodybuilding effects but those aren’t legal uses for adults in this country. Adults must qualify with a medical issue to get HGH treatment. Medical issues include:
- Hormone deficiency
- Short bowel syndrome
The pinpointed issue that hormone treatments deal with for those with HIV and AIDS is muscle mass. This disease is considered a “muscle-wasting disease.” In other words, it causes muscles to lose their development. This is known as wasting and eventually leads to deterioration beyond muscles to bones, organs, and internal tissue. The HGH can build muscle mass, so it can help save muscle and stop or at least stall wasting.
This constant deterioration puts AIDS patients at risk of dying from wasting and other diseases because the body no longer has enough of its defenses to fight off infections. Patients who lose more than 33 percent of their body weight are likely to die from wasting.
A study published by the National Institutes of Health indicated that random placebo-controlled studies showed those AIDS patients the growth hormone saw significant improvement in lean body mass compared to those taking the placebo. The conclusion was that doctors should include the idea of HIV/AIDS patients suffering from wasting be given the HRT option to improve their stamina and quality of life. There is a solid role for growth hormone treatment in the medical treatment of these patients, according to the study.
This has been shown to work in several research studies with some indicating the best results come from a combination of hormone and anabolic steroids. One study of 178 AIDS patients shows they gained 6.6 pounds in solid, lean muscle after receiving human growth hormone injections over a three-month period.
Other studies show that the reduction of fat around organs in the belly in AIDS patients dropped as must as 10 percent with a low dose of growth hormone. This was helpful because it leveled the patients’ blood pressures and triglycerides to healthier levels.
An Important Change
One of the most important changes that HIV and AIDS patients taking the hormone saw was an increase in their immune system. Most AIDS patients die from another illness like pneumonia because they have no T-cells left to fight off disease. Human growth hormone therapy has shown it can give the patient’s immunity a jumpstart. Scientists believe this is, in part, connected to more lean muscle mass.
Other Ways Growth Hormone Helps
AIDS patients are hit with a number of other health issues that can cause death. They are at high risk for heart disease, largely because the amount of bad cholesterol rises significantly while there is a decrease of high-density lipoprotein.
AIDS patients also have tremendous energy loss because of their dramatic weight loss and wasting. They may also have decreased bone density, so their bones are susceptible to fractures.
Hormone therapy is known to improve all of these issues from lowering cholesterol to improving heart health, more energy, and better bone density.
One of the more common synthetic hormone products used for AIDS and HIV patients is Somatropin under common brand names Omnitrop and Nutropin. This synthetic growth hormone is used for growth failure, intestinal disorders, and HIV and AIDS deterioration.
There are some associated risks with human growth hormone treatments. Some of the risks include joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, increased the risk of type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance as well as increased risk of certain cancers. However, for those facing possible death from HIV or AIDS, these risks are calculated one.
Even though growth hormone therapy is legal for those diagnosed with medical conditions such as HIV or AIDS, it isn’t the type of treatment you can get by walking in off the street. There is a process required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the medical community to legally gain access to this treatment.
First, talk to your family doctor or your primary doctor over your AIDS treatment about getting human growth hormone replacement therapy as part of your medical treatment. You will need to take a blood test to both confirm your HIV or AIDS diagnosis and specifically look at your hormone levels. An endocrinologist can help navigate through your hormone levels to create a treatment plan that meets all of your needs.
Once your doctor gives you a prescription for growth hormone replacement, you can choose an HRT clinic to do the treatment. There are many good clinics to choose from so choose one that deals specifically with HIV and AIDS patients.
You will also need to be monitored over the course of your treatment to see a trend in your hormone levels, but also for glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels to ensure they stay levels.
Most people see results of treatment within a month beginning with higher energy levels and then more muscle mass a couple of months after that but it could be different with you because of your diagnosis. Be sure to ask for a realistic picture of what you can expect over six-months in comparison with other healthy people with just a hormone deficiency.
You have many decisions to make regarding your diagnosis. Human growth hormone treatments could help you live better to make them. Those who wish to find out more about this treatment should fill out the form below.