Lipodystrophy is a problem with the way your body uses and stores fat. It’s called acquired when you aren’t born with it. It often affects the fat that’s just under your skin, so it can change the way you look. It also can cause other changes in your body.
Some people with HIV get lipodystrophy (LD-HIV). It may be related to the medicines they take or the disease itself.
It often shows up in children, but adults can get it, too. It typically starts around ages 8-10. Both conditions affect girls three times more often than boys. Both cause a person to lose fat from her face, so she may look sick or much older than she is.
Localised lipodystrophy can happen to anyone at any age. A small dimple of localised lipodystrophy may look odd, but it probably won’t cause any other trouble.
However, because fat tissue makes the hormone leptin, people with larger areas of acquired lipodystrophy might not have enough of this chemical in their bodies. Leptin tells your body you’ve eaten enough and to make insulin. Fat could also build up in places it shouldn’t, like the blood, heart, liver, and kidneys. Depending on which type of lipodystrophy a person has, it may cause other problems, including diabetes, high cholesterol and triglycerides, liver disease, and kidney failure.
Often, doctors don’t know what causes acquired lipodystrophy, but some triggers are: An infection, such as measles, pneumonia, infectious mononucleosis, or hepatitis; a disease where your immune system attacks your body (called an autoimmune disease); repeated injections in or pressure on the same place on your body; an injury, for example, people with diabetes who have to inject insulin daily tend to get localized lipodystrophy where they keep giving themselves shots. That’s a good reason to change your injection site often.