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Thread: How long does it take for body mass to reflect intake?

  1. #1
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    Central NJ
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    How long does it take for body mass to reflect intake?

    I did not successfully eat for a week or two, and I could not drink, so I lost a lot of weight. I had been around 95 pounds for a year or so at least (but with still pretty decent muscles). They weighed me in at Kessler in early October at 90 90 pounds. Since then I?ve been eating like a horse (on pur?ed food and thick liquid) and registered weights that I remember, in varying states of dress, of 72, 80, 73, 79, 78, and 81. So clearly there is a delay. I am guessing about two weeks, but that seems pretty short. I know a lot of it is probably just dehydration. I?m told wound healing takes a lot of energy. I fear a lot of it might be bone loss. I?m working hard to gain it back as muscle and bone muscle, although I might more aptly say that I am hoping, since I haven?t found more ways to work than isometrics, standing, and E ? stim.

    Can anyone suggest what I might expect or any other muscle ? building strategies?

  2. #2
    Body mass index (BMI) is notoriously a poor measure of desirable weight in people with disabilities. We don't even have a good formula for calculating it for people with SCI.

    A much better measure of your nutritional status are lab tests such as albumin, pre-albumin, transferrrin, and your RBC and hematacrit (Hct) levels. Albumin is a measure of your body protein stores over the last 6-8 weeks, while pre-albumin is for the last week or so. For our patients who are hospitalized for pressure ulcers, we measure both pre-albumin and CRP (as well as RBC and Hct) weekly.

    You should be getting 100-120 gm. of dietary protein daily as long as your kidneys are healthy. Calories are important too, but protein is the most important for your skin. You should also be taking a high-stress multivitamin, and if your transferrin levels or circulating iron levels are low, and iron supplement as well. You should probably also have your blood zinc levels tested, and if low, a 2-3 week course of zinc supplement is important.

    We have also used the anabolic steroid Oxandralone for a 6-8 week course (closely medically supervised) to put weight onto severely underweight persons with pressure ulcers. Your liver function studies (LFTs) must be closely monitored, and you still need to eat sufficient protein for it to help you put on the lean body mass desired.

    If you are in the hospital, see the dietician and work with them to get the necessary adjustments made to your diet, and to find sources of these nutrients that you can tolerate and like to eat. We would also consider a PEG feeding tube for night time feeding if a person cannot get sufficient protein in through their diet.


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