One woman's battle with a rare fat disorder - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

One woman's battle with a rare fat disorder

Kristi Lowery Kristi Lowery

Laura Rojas

NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, TX--Symptoms often mistaken for obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle can mask a life threatening illness.  For one woman it's a battle with a rare fat disorder.

For many years Kristi Lowery was told to change her eating habits and exercise more.

She says, "I was having difficulty breathing, difficulty walking um I was so large at that time I couldn't even put my arms down to my side."

But as much as she tried to lose weight nothing was happening.

Instead she kept putting on the pounds and getting sick.

She says, "I had gained almost 80 pounds in less than six months and had this horrendous cough."

The symptoms didn't stop there. She developed severe sleep apnea, insomnia, fatigue and painful lumps.

She tell us, "they were throughout my body I just didn't know it, but I noticed them mostly on my thighs, my thighs looked like a bag of rocks."

She even ended up in the hospital emergency room where they removed fifteen pounds of fluid.

Lowery says, "I weighed about 130 pounds and before it was over I weighed 204." 

She was finally diagnosed with Dercum's Disease by Dr. Karen Herbst, one of a few doctors in the U.S. studying fat disorders.

She says, "Dercum's Disease is a rare painful fat disorder in which there are fatty lumps in the subcutaneous adipose tissue or subcutaneous fat tissue."

These lumps can cause fluid to build up in the tissue becoming very painful.

Dr. Herbst says, "according to the national organization of rare diseases it's the third most rarest disorder in the united states at this time."

While there is no known cure today Lowery gets relief from supplements, warm pool therapy and using the Cyclic Variations and Altitude Conditioning Machine.

She says, "the goal is to change the pressure out of the body so it acts as pneumatic compression and it squeezes the fluid out of the tissue."

Lowery says she gets the most relief from the CVAC machine.

While she has found much relief for her symptoms her treatments have also helped her lose weight.

With no cure in sight Lowery remains hopeful and wants others who suffer from this to know they're not alone.

If you or someone you know is affected by this and would like some help here's a link to the Fat Disorders Research Society www.fatdisorders.org

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