How can lipodystrophy be treated?

Currently, there is no cure for generalised or partial lipodystrophy and treatment options are somewhat limited and directed toward specific complications of the disease. Management options also vary in effectiveness from person to person and include diet and exercise, medicinal treatment for the metabolic consequences of lipodystrophy such as anti-diabetics and lipid lowering agents  as well as cosmetic options.

Lipodystrophy – Management options

Lipodystrophy is currently incurable; the loss of fatty tissue is irreversible. A suitable diet is very important. However, the hunger associated with leptin deficiency makes controlling energy intake difficult which in turn has a negative effect on the existing blood sugar and fat levels and existing metabolic disorders.

There is some evidence that a low-fat, omega-3-rich, high-fibre diet can improve metabolic control in lipodystrophy. However, individual diet plans should only be carried out after consulting with your physician.

Regular physical exercise or sport makes a significant contribution to alleviating metabolic disorders. The activity should be tailored to the age and state of health of the person in question. Excercise might not be recommended in patients with heart disease.

Medications are used to treat the metabolic disorders and any possible secondary diseases associated with lipodystrophy. They can involve oral or injectable diabetes treatment and statins. However, these medications only treat the complications associated with lipodystrophy, not the disease itself and may have a limited effect. There is currently only one treatment approved in the EU for the treatment of the complications of leptin deficiency: leptin replacement therapy. This treatment may not be available in all countries. For further information please ask your doctor or get in touch with a specialist lipodystrophy centre.

If the person’s physical appearance is a great burden to them, cosmetic surgery may be possible to improve matters.

The early recognition of the signs and symptoms of lipodystrophy is important so that appropriate treatment can be started as early as possible.