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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Adiposis dolorosa

Other Names for this Disease
  • Dercum disease
  • Dercum's disease
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What are the signs and symptoms of adiposis dolorosa?

Adiposis dolorosa is primarily characterized by the development of muliple, painful lipomas (benign, fatty tumors). It is often associated with obesity; physical weakness and lack of energy (asthenia); and various other symptoms including depression, confusion, dementia and/or epilepsy (seizures).[1]

The lipomas occur anywhere in the body except the face and neck. The most common sites are the knees, upper thighs, back and upper arms. They may cause joint pain (arthralgia) when they are near the joints.[1] 
Pain associated with the lipomas can be debilitating; it usually worsens with movement or an increase in body weight.[2] Sparse pubic hair and underarm hair have been reported in some individuals.[1] The condition can also be associated with early congestive heart failure, severe hypothyroidism, joint pain, flushing episodes, tremors, cyanosis, high blood pressure, headaches, and nosebleeds.[2]

Last updated: 11/11/2013

  1. Louis Dubertret. Adiposis dolorosa. Orphanet. May, 2008; Accessed 11/11/2013.
  2. Learning about Dercum Disease. National Human Genome Research Institute. July 2010; Accessed 5/13/2011.