Generalised and partial
Lipodystrophy (Gl and PL)

What does the name of the condition mean?

Generalised
= everywhere

Partial
= in some areas

Lipo
 = fat

Dystrophy
= lack/loss
of tissue

The name describes the main signs of the disease: the loss or absence of subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin) over the entire body or in certain parts of the body.

GL or PL are very rare diseases; very few people are affected by them.

Young very thin woman with Generalised Lipodystrophy.

Less fat in the body –
isn’t that a good thing

If you have too little subcutaneous body fat, it can make you very ill. We need a certain amount of body fat. Why? Because our fat has important functions which allow us to lead healthy lives with an even distribution of fat throughout the body.

Fat storage
Excess fat is stored in the fatty tissue. If there is too little subcutaneous fat, the body stores the fats in the wrong places including the internal organs and muscles.

Hormone production
Fat cells produce certain hormones. One of these is leptin. Leptin is important for our energy balance, fat and sugar metabolism and many other body functions.
If leptin is absent or significantly reduced, all these processes going on in our body are disturbed.
Leptin also tells us when we’re full and do not need to eat more.

GL or PL are always linked to a lack of subcutaneous fat. But the extent depends on the type of disease.

Diabetes
(diabetes mellitus)
that is difficult to treat?

and/or

and/or

Fatty liver?

Lack of subcutaneous fat over the whole body or unusual fat distribution

Insatiable hunger?

and/or

and/or

Too much fat (triglycerides) in the blood?