It is a well known fact within the medical community, both at the civilian level and around the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), that some diseases seem to manifest well after a veteran’s time in service. For some diseases, the medical profession has a good grasp as to why they incubate, and others, it is unclear why the disease takes life after military service.
One disease that seems to be a major conundrum for many in the medical profession affects veterans at a rate five times more than in the civilian population. And, yet, many veterans who file for this disease as service-connected get turned down. There have been exceptions, but the approval rate for service-connection is very low.
Veterans who suffer from this disease suffer with pain, anxiety, embarrassment, and depression at an alarming rate.
Dercum's Disease is an extremely rare disorder characterized by multiple, painful growths consisting of fatty tissue (lipomas). These growths mainly occur on the trunk, the upper arms and upper legs and are found just below the skin (subcutaneously). Sometimes, there is major pain associated with Dercum's Disease that can be severe and debilitating.
Current research seems to indicate that Dercum's Disease mainly occurs in adults over the age of 55, and more women are affected than men.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other medical outlets follow research that indicates the exact cause of Dercum's Disease is unknown.
Symptoms of Dercum’s Disease
- Painful growths consisting of fatty tissue (lipomas)
- Often found just below the surface of the skin
- Lipomas may be found in any part of the body
- Typically found on the trunk, upper arms and upper legs
Other Problems That Accompany Dercum's Disease
- Weight gain
- Extreme stiffness
- Bruise easily
- Memory problems
- Prone to infections
- Dry eyes
- Sleep problems
- Heart problems
Known Causes of Dercum’s Disease
Medical literature indicates that Dercum’s Disease appears to occur spontaneously and for no apparent known reason.
Some medical literature has suggested that Dercum’s Disease may be an autoimmune disorder- a disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
It looks as if some cases of Dercum’s Disease may run in families.
The overall consensus amongst medical scientists is that the exact cause of Dercum’s Disease is unknown.
Veterans Believe There Is A Link
Many veterans have come to the conclusion there is a strong correlation that Dercum’s Disease may be the result of:
- Anthrax vaccinations
- Working around JP4 & JP8 (jet fuel)
- Involved with contaminated water on military installations
Who Is Affected By Dercum’s Disease
- Females more often than males
- Women between the ages of 45-65
- People who are overweight
- Veterans who served in Vietnam, Iraq & Afghanistan
Dercum’s Disease is underdiagnosed, making it difficult to determine its true frequency in the general population.
Dercum’s Disease Feedback From C & P Exam
From C & P Examiner: "We are going to opine that the lipoma that was removed in service was the beginning of the condition Dercums Disease (Adiposis Dolorosa) and that all of the lipomas are related."
Typical Rater Feedback
A noncompensable evaluation is warranted for asymptomatic multiple lipomas on the back, torso and upper extremities, A noncompensable evaluation is assigned unless there is: disfigurement; limitation of motion due to scarring; pain on examination of one or two scars; frequent loss of covering of skin over scars; or impairment of function.