Acquired Partial Lipodystrophy Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Feb 11, 2020
  • Author: George T Griffing, MD; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

The differential diagnosis of acquired partial lipodystrophy (APL) includes a number of conditions presenting with severe weight loss, including the following:

  • Malnutrition
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Thyrotoxicosis
  • Adrenocortical insufficiency
  • Cancer cachexia
  • Chronic infections
  • HIV wasting syndrome

Lipodystrophy and uncontrolled diabetes may both have extreme hypertriglyceridemia. However, patients with nonlipodystrophic diabetes regain body fat once glycemic control is restored. [22]

Because of the variable patterns of lipodystrophy in APL, other syndromes and subtypes of lipodystrophy should be considered. Pedigree analysis can help differentiate genetic from acquired lipodystrophy. The presence of autoimmune diseases increases the suspicion of and acquired lipodystrophy. Low serum C3, C3 nephritic factor, proteinuria, or biopsy-proven membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) further support the diagnosis of APL. [22]

Differential Diagnoses