Lipoatrophy : Fat Facts - by David Evans

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Saving Face—and Arms and Legs

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Fat Facts

The Lipo-Med Link

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Fat Facts

by David Evans

Not all body fat is alike. Nor are the fat gains and losses seen in people with HIV.

There are two types of fat:

Subcutaneous Fat
This is the soft, mushy fat that sits just below the skin all over the body.

Visceral Fat
This is a dense, harder fat that usually lies primarily under the muscles and deep in the gut.

There are three types of HIV-related fat changes:

Lipodystrophy
Lipo means fat, and dystrophy means change. This refers to a cluster of symptoms that includes both unusual fat losses and gains and abnormal changes in cholesterol, triglycerides and sugar in the blood.

Lipoatrophy
Atrophy means to shrink or disappear. Lipoatrophy refers to the loss of subcutaneous fat. It is most noticeable in the face, arms, butt and legs.

Lipohypertrophy
Hypertrophy means to grow or accumulate. This condition refers to increases in visceral fat within the abdomen as well as subcutaneous fat between the shoulder blades (“buffalo hump”) and in women’s breasts.



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