Lipodystrophy United feels that one of the most important gifts we can give future generations of LD patients is increased awareness, understanding and visibility of the disease. Our hope is that this information generates more research interest.
The extent of fat loss may determine the severity of metabolic complications. Some patients may have only cosmetic problems while others may also have severe metabolic complications.
The exact locations of fat tissue loss varies from person to person. For example, some people with lipodystrophy may have areas on their body that look very thin (face and arms), while other areas might appear large (hips or buttocks). Other people with lipodystrophy might have very little fat tissue on the lower areas of the body (legs and buttocks) and excess fat tissue on the upper areas of the body (abdomen, chin, and neck). Still others might have very little visible fat tissue anywhere on their bodies and may appear extremely muscular.
Because people with lipodystrophy are missing or have very low leptin, fat can be found in unusual places like the bloodstream, heart, kidneys, liver, and pancreas. Since fat is not meant to be in these places, it can lead to serious problems, such as insulin resistance, diabetes, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease, pancreatitis and heart disease.
Taking a Closer Look at Lipodystrophy Video (with Dr. Abhimanyu Garg and Nurse Elaine Cochran)
People with lipodystrophy experience an uncontrolled loss of fat tissue, especially fat under the skin. This causes a drop in an important hormone called Leptin. Without enough fat tissue or Leptin, the body’s system for regulating energy use falls out of balance. This system is called the metabolic system. Each person’s metabolic system requires a specific amount of fat and hormones to work properly. This serious imbalance causes fat to accumulate where it in the blood or organs—which can lead to life-threatening complications.