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The interdisciplinary team of physicians at Penn Medicine provides comprehensive care for patients of all ages with various types of lipodystrophy. Our experts are able to accurately diagnose lipodystrophies and develop a plan of care that is unique to the individual.

The lipodystrophies are a group of rare disorders that affect how the body uses and stores fat. People with a lipodystrophy cannot produce fat and may appear very thin or muscular. In these individuals, fat builds up in other places such as in the blood or liver rather than accumulating in the usual places. This can lead to various health problems.

Individuals with lipodystrophy may have the following:

  • high triglyceride levels (hypertriglyceridemia)
  • high blood sugar (diabetes mellitus)
  • inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • bumps on the skin (eruptive xanthomas) due to high triglycerides
  • dark and velvety change of skin (acanthosis nigrican) due to insulin resistance
  • heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy or heart failure, heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) or coronary artery disease
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with irregular menstrual and fertility problems

Subtypes of Lipodystrophy

  • Inherited
    • Congenital generalized lipodystrophy
    • Familial partial lipodystrophy
  • Acquired
    • Generalized lipodystrophy
    • Partial lipodystrophy
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