How can lipodystrophy be treated?

Currently, there is no cure for generalised or partial lipodystrophy. Management options vary in effectiveness from person to person and include diet and exercise, medicinal treatments 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. Exercise might not be recommended in patients with heart disease. Should you have any questions, please consult your doctor before undertaking exercise.

Medications are used to treat the metabolic disorders and any possible secondary diseases associated with lipodystrophy.  They can involve oral and injectable diabetes treatments and statins. Leptin replacement therapy to treat the complications of leptin deficiency in lipodystrophy is also available in some countries.

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.

Date of preparation October 2023