Fat Tissue

Fat is well known to store fat and give us shape.  By definition, fat is a loose connective tissue that has within it not only fat cells that store fat as triglyceride for energy, but also other cells such as fibroblasts which lay down connective tissue and immune cells which help survey and protect the tissue against invaders but also help to repair damaged tissue.  Fat tissue is richly innervated by nerves.  Blood vessels supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and lymphatic vessels remove unused nutrients, cell waste and excess fluid.  Fat is therefore a complex loose connective tissue.

fat tissue
Sick Fat Tissue

Lipedema

Lipedema is a loose connective tissue disease whereby fat tissue on the hips, buttocks, thighs, lower legs and arms becomes inflamed and fibrotic resulting in the inability to lose this fat normally through diet, exercise or bariatric surgery.  Lipedema primarily occurs in women and is rare in men.  About 50% of women with lipedema are thought to have hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) which is a connective tissue disease.  The gene for hEDS is not known.  In lipedema, weak blood vessels may leak out more fluid into the tissue causing inflammation and fibrosis.

Lipedema Legs
Lipedema Research

Dercum’s Disease

The growth of painful lipomas is the Hallmark of Dercum’s disease.  The lipomas can be made of primarily fat or they can also contain a lot of blood vessels called angioliopomas.  There may be a genetic component to Dercum’s disease or the body may not be able to heal properly after an insult resulting in the formation of lipomas.  The lipomas in Dercum’s disease are very painful and also associated with many signs and symptoms such as fatigue and joint and muscle aches.

dercum's disease
Dercum's Disease Research
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