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Lipodystrophy Diagnosis Age Linked to Child's Complications

Condition seen more frequently in context of autoimmune disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Children without HIV who are diagnosed with acquired lipodystrophy at an early age are more likely to experience complications than those diagnosed later on, according to a report in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Elena Pope, M.D., of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study of 23 patients with lipodystrophy who had a mean age at diagnosis of 9.74 years. Girls accounted for 61 percent of the cases and none of the patients were infected with HIV or had scleroderma.

During follow-up, which was a mean of 4.8 years after diagnosis, 30 percent of patients had signs of localized disease, 26 percent had localized partial disease, and 44 percent had generalized lipodystrophy. Dermatomyositis was the most common underlying diagnosis, accounting for 78 percent of cases, either on its own or in association with other autoimmune disease, such as juvenile arthritis, which was found in 17 percent of cases.

In more than half of the patients there was at least one complication of lipodystrophy, including acanthosis nigricans (22 percent), hyperpigmentation (22 percent), hepatomegaly (13 percent) and hypertension (13 percent). Early age at diagnosis was associated with higher risk of complications.

"Affected children should be monitored for the development of complications, particularly if given a diagnosis of lipodystrophy at a younger age," the authors conclude.

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