Rapid Weight Gain

Rapid Weight Gain: A Common Presentation of Adipose Tissue Disorders

Weight gain has long been assumed to be a consequence of impaired energy balance due to poor feeding habits and low physical activity. We examined 40 patients who were referred for rapid weight gain or difficulty losing weight without obvious endocrine or non-endocrine causes. Most of the subjects also complained of fatigue and chronic pain that localized to the subcutaneous fat tissue. We examined our subjects systematically for subcutaneous adipose tissue accumulation in the upper back, deltoid regions, upper arms, trunk, abdomen, hips, buttocks and thighs. We also palpated for lipomas and fat nodules, and assessed abnormal or exaggerated fat distribution in unusual locations. Discrete lipomas in the abdomen, hips, buttocks and upper arms were frequenlty found in patients with rapid weight gain. More than half of our subjects have a painful adipose tissue disorder, adiposis dolorosa, (Dercum’s disease), mostly the nodular subtype. Three subjects had bilateral mastectomy because of mastalgia, 2 subjects have sciatic pain from lipoma growth in the spine, and 2 subjects had been hospitalized for panniculitis. The majority of the subjects have concurrent lipoedema, causing hip and thigh pain. History of previous surgery to remove lipomas is common, and tissue removed surgically in 3 subjects revealed angiolipomas. Other subjects who present with rapid weight gain have non-painful multiple symmetric lipomatosis, familial multiple lipomas, or generalized obesity. In conclusion, many subjects who present for rapid weight gain have abnormal lipomatous growth, which needs to be distinguished from generalized obesity. Dercum’s disease, or painful adipose tissue disorder, is a generally unrecognized condition that presents as rapid weight gain usually with chronic pain. The etiology of adiposis dolorosa remains to be determined.
Nothing to Disclose: A. A. Jamalallail, M.B.B.S., A. U. Rehman, A. Kaur, MBBS, B. C. Villafuerte, MD.
– See more at: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/endo-meetings.2016.OABA.8.FRI-644#sthash.oEbUXfe5.dpuf

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