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Acquired Generalized Lipodystrophy (AGL)

What is acquired generalized lipodystrophy?

Acquired generalized lipodystrophy (AGL), also known as Lawrence syndrome, is a lipodystrophic condition that is characterized by the loss of adipose tissue, a form of connective tissue. It is a very rare condition, impacting about 100 people in medical literature. It also tends to impact females more than males. 

What are the symptoms of acquired generalized lipodystrophy?

Symptoms typically progress very slowly, but the major symptom is the loss of fat. As the disease progresses, affected individuals may see the near complete loss of fat. This means that muscles and veins appear very prominantly. Other symptoms include:

  • A ferocious appetite
  • Dark pigmentation on various areas of the body
  • Excess body hair
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Enlargement of the liver and spleen
  • Enlargement of the genitalia

Other conditions are often caused by AGL as well, such as diabetes, vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis, and more. 

What causes acquired generalized lipodystrophy?

This condition can appear in infancy, adolescence, or adulthood, leading medical professionals to believe that it is acquired. In some cases, an autoimmune disorder is the cause of AGL, but in others it is an infection, such as measles or hepatitis. 

How is acquired generalized lipodystrophy diagnosed?

Doctors will begin with a clinical evaluation, search for characteristic symptoms, and patient history. This is followed by various tests, such as a blood chemical profile, renal biopsy, and MRI. 

What are the treatments for acquired generalized lipodystrophy?

A team of specialists is often required to best treat AGL. One of the specialists should be a therapist, as this condition often causes stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Doctors also recommend a diet that is high in carbohydrates and low in fat, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight. Other treatments are symptomatic and meant to ensure that there are no complications. 

Where can I find out more about acquired generalized lipodystrophy?

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