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HIV/AIDS Treatment Increases The Risk Of Diabetes And Cardiovascular Disease In HIV-Positive Patients

First Posted: Dec 15, 2016 05:28 AM EST
HIV/AIDS: ART
Studies reveal that ART, followed worldwide for HIV/AIDS treatment, can significantly multiply the risk of getting diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the future.
(Photo : khanacademymedicine/YouTube screenshot)

The World AIDS Day was observed last month, and the discussions and studies that followed it revealed that increasing occurrence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease among HIV-positive patients is a major concern.

HIV/AIDS Treatment with the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART)

The Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is becoming increasing popular for HIV/AIDS treatment. But recent research studies reveal that in many patients, ART medications cause insulin resistance, which in turn leads to the occurrence of diabetes. Furthermore, HIV patients above 40 years of age, have high tendency of suffering with cardiovascular complications and stroke.

The HIV itself causes chronic inflammation, which may lead to arterial deposition of plaque and cause blockage in the blood vessels. In addition, certain HIV drugs like the protease inhibitors cause an increase in fat levels of the blood, which is a potential threat and risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and improper functioning of gall bladder and pancreas, reported Daily Nation.

In some cases where ART is discontinued, the absence of healing drugs multiplies the level of inflammation caused due to the virus and causes serious inflammatory damage to the blood vessels. Thus, experts warn against stopping the administration of ART.

Prof. Gerald Yonga, cardiologist at Aga Khan University Hospital, Pakistan, said that, "It is also important to take cardiovascular risk factors into account when making crucial HIV treatment decisions, such as when to start, or switch treatment and which medications to use."

He also suggested that healthy lifestyle changes such as eating proper diet, regular exercising and quitting smoking can help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in HIV-positive patients.

"Regular monitoring of the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood and other cardiovascular risk factors in the HIV treatment factors and adoption of prevention, early detection and control can help to control the problem," Prof. Yonga said.

He also added that several researchers are actively engaged in the research and development of new HIV/AIDS treatment medications, which will help in preventing the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases in the general and HIV-positive population in particular.

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