Syndrome, lipodystrophy
A disturbance of lipid (fat) metabolism that involves the partial or total absence of fat and often the abnormal deposition and distribution of fat in the body. There are a number of different lipodystrophy syndromes. Some of them are congenital (present at birth) while others are acquired later. Some are genetic (inherited), others not. One lipodystrophy syndrome appears associated with the protease inhibitor drugs used in the treatment of AIDS. In this lipodystrophy syndrome, the face, arms and legs become thin due to loss of subcutaneous fat. The skin becomes dry. The lips crack. Weight drops. Lawrence K. Altman in The New York Times observed that, "Veins stick out as cords, and although normal, may be mistaken for varicose veins." While fat disappears from some areas, it redistributes to build up in others. The back of the neck (takes on fat and) resembles a buffalo hump. Breasts enlarge. A woman may have to buy a bra that is two sizes larger than the last one. The abdomen swells producing a sometimes painful pot belly that is dubbed “a protease paunch.” A woman may look pregnant when she is not. Exercise may not "work it off.” How the protease inhibitors induce this lipodystrophy syndrome is unknown.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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