- Related Diseases
- Images & Quizzes
- Adult Skin Problems Slideshow
- Quiz: Is Ringworm Contagious?
- Gallery of Skin Problems Pictures
- Patient Comments: Weber-Christian Disease - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Weber-Christian Disease - Treatments
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
- Weber-Christian disease facts
- What is Weber-Christian disease? What are the risk factors for this disease?
- What is panniculitis?
- What are other symptoms of Weber-Christian disease?
- What causes Weber-Christian disease?
- How is Weber-Christian disease diagnosed?
- What is the prognosis of Weber-Christian disease?
- What is the treatment for Weber-Christian disease?
Weber-Christian disease facts
- Weber-Christian disease is an uncommon inflammatory condition of the fatty tissues of the body.
- It's a disease of unknown cause.
- It most commonly affects the thighs and legs of women.
- It's difficult to treat and may heal with permanent scars.
What is Weber-Christian disease? What are the risk factors for this disease?
Weber-Christian disease is an uncommon inflammatory disease of the fatty tissues of the body. Weber-Christian disease is also referred to as idiopathic lobular panniculitis (ILP) and relapsing febrile nodular panniculitis syndrome.
The term Weber-Christian often refers to a group of diseases that involve the deep fat. These disorders first appear on the skin as reddish, tender nodules. Mostly, Weber-Christian describes cases of recurring inflammation of special sections of fat called lobules. The exact cause of Weber-Christian panniculitis is unknown. The disorder is frequently associated with systemic symptoms such as fever and body aches.
Weber-Christian disease is most commonly seen in females 30-60 years of age. It can occur in both sexes, in all ages, and rarely in infants. There are no other known risk factors.
Usually, both sides of the body are affected, and the thighs and lower legs are the most frequent areas. The inflamed areas can lose their blood supply, the skin can actually die in the area, ooze yellowish drainage, and become infected. Scarring is common.
The appearance of the skin symptoms are usually accompanied by fever and malaise (feeling poorly). The skin lumps may vary in size but are usually small, the size of two to three fingertips or about 1-2 cm in size. The skin lumps may gradually flatten, soften, and start to decrease over several weeks. Frequently, the areas heal with a brownish or tan discoloration and leave a sunken scar from the underlying fat necrosis. Less commonly, the skin discoloration may take weeks to months to fade away completely and leave no scar.
Quick GuideRingworm: Treatment, Pictures, Causes, and Symptoms
What is panniculitis?
The tissue layer under the skin (epidermis and dermis) is called the subcutaneous fat or panniculus. This subcutaneous tissue is very important in temperature regulation and protective insulation of the body. Inflammation of this essential layer of fatty tissue is called panniculitis. In panniculitis, the overlying skin typically appears as red or purplish lumps.
What are other symptoms of Weber-Christian disease?
Weber-Christian disease can also cause symptoms other than in the skin, such as fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and joint pain. Occasionally, inflammation occurs in other organs of the body to cause heart, lung, kidney, liver, and/or spleen problems. Liver involvement may first cause abdominal pain. The skin symptoms provide perhaps the most important clue to the diagnosis of Weber-Christian syndrome. Overall, symptoms with this syndrome may come and go, and relapses are common.
How is Weber-Christian disease diagnosed?
The diagnosis is made usually by taking a piece of tissue (biopsy) and examining it under a microscope. There is inflammation of the affected fatty lobules (central part of the fat) with increased numbers of white blood cells around the fat and sometimes degeneration or death of fat cells called necrosis.
Laboratory tests using a simple blood draw may be helpful as extra information to suggest inflammation when Weber-Christian disease is suspected. There is no single lab test that completely defines this disease. Abnormal tests such as a highly elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, also called "sed rate" or ESR, may be useful. Additionally, mildly elevated white blood cell count (WBC) on a complete blood cell count (CBC) may be found.
Normal lab tests, including serum and urine amylase and lipase, help to distinguish Weber-Christian from other diseases of the fat caused by pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). A normal alpha-1 antitrypsin level helps to differentiate Weber-Christian disease from a separate fatty inflammatory disease (panniculitis) caused by alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
What is the prognosis of Weber-Christian disease?
The prognosis or long-term outlook is very different for each patient with Weber-Christian disease and depends on the severity of organ involvement. Some patients have mild, intermittent, annoying symptoms, while in others Weber-Christian disease can be fatal. After several years of symptoms, Weber-Christian disease may go away permanently (remission).
Quick GuideRingworm: Treatment, Pictures, Causes, and Symptoms
What is the treatment for Weber-Christian disease?
There is no cure or uniformly effective treatment that works for everyone with Weber-Christian disease. Possible treatments include oral medications that alter the immune-system reaction and decrease overall inflammation. Some patients have had improvement with medications including chloroquine, thalidomide, cyclophosphamide, tetracycline, cyclosporine, azathioprine, prednisone, and a host of nonsteroidal medications like ibuprofen and indomethacin.
Accompanying treatments for the symptoms may include additional oral pain medications as well as topical salves to treat and prevent local skin infections.
Overall, when internal organs are inflamed, medicines directed toward the underlying inflammation are considered. In summary, treatment for Weber-Christian disease is nonspecific, and antiinflammatory therapy may not be fully effective for everyone with the disease.
Medically reviewed by Norman Levine, MD; American Board of Dermatology
Lee, Lela, M.D. "Panniculitis: Recognition and diagnosis." UptoDate. Updated Apr. 27, 2016.
Daily Health News
Skin Problems and Treatments Resources
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter
- Weber-Christian Disease Related Diseases
- Weber-Christian Disease Images & Quizzes
- Weber-Christian Disease Index
Lee, Lela, M.D. "Panniculitis: Recognition and diagnosis." UptoDate. Updated Apr. 27, 2016.
Weber-Christian Disease - Symptoms
What were the symptoms associated with Weber-Christian disease in you or someone you know?Post View 4 Comments
Weber-Christian Disease - Treatments
What types of treatment have you found effective for Weber-Christian disease?Post View 1 Comment
Weber-Christian Disease - Diagnosis
How were you diagnosed with Weber-Christian disease?Post
Top Weber-Christian Disease Related Articles
Abdominal Pain (Causes, Remedies, Treatment)
Abdominal pain can have many causes that range from mild to severe. Some of these causes include:
- Food poisoning
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Ovarian cysts
- Abdominal adhesions
- Crohn's disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Gallbladder disease
- Liver disease
Signs and symptoms of the more serious causes include:
- Bloody or black tarry stools
- Severe abdominal pain
- Pain with no urination or painful urination.
Treatment for abdominal pain depends upon the cause.
Aches, Pain, FeverAlthough a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is an inherited disorder caused by mutations in the SERPINA1 gene. People with the condition are at risk for developing serious lung and liver disease. Symptoms and signs of lung disease caused by this condition include:
The earliest symptoms and signs of lung disease usually develop between 20 and 50 years of age, and are
- The reduced ability to exercise
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea) following mild activity
Other symptoms and signs of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency are:
- Rapid heartbeat when going from sitting to standing
- Recurring respiratory infections
- Unintentional weight loss
Lung disease: People with this condition often develop emphysema, with symptoms of a hacking cough, barrel-shaped chest, and difficulty breathing. If you have this condition and smoke or are exposed to tobacco smoke, it accelerates the appearance of emphysema symptoms and lung damage.
Liver disease: Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency also cause liver disease in some people with the condition, that include liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, an abnormally large liver (hepatomegaly), liver failure, and hepatitis. Liver damage from alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency causes symptom of a swollen abdomen, swollen legs or feet, and jaundice.
Treatment of AATD depends upon the severity of symptoms. FDA approved drug for AATD is an orphan product called alpha-1-proteinase inhibitor (human), sold under the brand name "Prolastin."
azathioprineAzathioprine (Imuran, Azasan) is a drug prescribed for prevention of organ rejection in kidney transplants. Off label uses for azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan) include rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, myasthenia gravis, ulcerative colitis, and autoimmune hepatitis. Side effects, drug interactions, and safety during pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking this drug.
Complete Blood CountA complete blood count (CBC) is a calculation of the cellular makeup of blood. A CBC measures:
- the concentration of white blood cells,
- red blood cells,
- platelets in the blood, and
- aids in diagnosing conditions and disease such as
- anemia, or
- blood clotting problems.
cyclophosphamideCyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of certain cancers including breast cancer, leukemia, and ovarian cancer. Side effects, drug interactions, patient safety information, and pregnancy and breastfeeding information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to reduce mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever. Ibuprofen works by blocking an enzyme that makes prostaglandin (a hormone-like substance that participates in a variety of body functions), which results in lower levels of prostaglandins in the body. Lower levels of prostaglandins reduce pain, inflammation, and fever.
Ibuprofen is prescribed to treat diseases and conditions that cause mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation. For example:
- Pain from strains and sprains
- Pain from cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds
- Muscle aches and pains
- Tooth pain
- Common cold
- Mild headache
- Some arthritis conditions
- Joint pain
- To reduce fever
Common side effects of ibuprofen include:
- Belly pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Mild rash
More serious side effects and adverse effects include:
- Increased bleeding after injury
- Stomach ulcers
- Impaired kidney function
- Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
The maximum dose prescribed under a doctor's care is 3.2 g daily. Otherwise, the over-the-counter (OTC) maximum daily dose is 1.2 g daily. Dosage depends upon the age, weight, and any current medical conditions of the patient. Several drugs interact with ibuprofen so check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional with questions in regard to this drug. Doctors don't know if it is safe to take ibuprofen if your are pregnant, therefore it is not recommended if you are pregnant. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, ibuprofen is safe to take while breastfeeding.
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.
indomethacinindomethacin; Indocin, Indocin-SR (Discontinued Brand in U.S.) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug prescribed for the treatment of inflammation caused by gouty arthritis, osteoarthritis, soft tissue injuries such as bursitis and tendinitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylolsing spondylitis. Side effects, drug interactions, pregnancy safety, and dosage information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers.
Treatment of nausea and vomiting depends upon the cause.
PancreatitisPancreatitis is a rare disease in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. There are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic. Symptoms of pancreatitis include
- abdominal pain,
- vomiting, and
- a rapid pulse.
Panniculitis from Cold PictureLocal exposure to cold leads to the formation of ice crystals within cells. Injury to cell contents occurs during both cooling and thawing. See a picture of Panniculitis from Cold and learn more about the health topic.
Prednisone is a drug that belongs to the corticosteroid drug class, and is an anti-inflammatory and immune system suppressant. It's used to treat a variety of diseases and conditions, for example: inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), lupus, asthma, cancers, and several types of arthritis.
Common side effects are weight gain, headache, fluid retention, and muscle weakness. Other effects and adverse events include glaucoma, cataracts, obesity, facial hair growth, moon face, and growth retardation in children. This medicine also causes psychiatric problems, for example: depression, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, and psychotic behavior. Serious side effects include reactions to diabetes drugs, infections, and necrosis of the hips and joints.
Corticosteroids like prednisone, have many drug interactions; examples include: estrogens, phenytoin (Dilantin), diuretics, warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), and diabetes drugs. Prednisone is available as tablets of 1, 2.5, 10, 20, and 50 mg; extended release tablets of 1, 2, and 5mg; and oral solution of 5mg/5ml. It's use during the first trimester of pregnancy may cause cleft palate. This medicine is secreted in breast milk and can cause side effects in infants who are nursing. You should not stop taking prednisone abruptly because it can cause withdrawal symptoms and adrenal failure. Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other medical professional if you have questions about beta-blockers. Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other medical professional if you have questions about prednisone.
If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
RashThe word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
ScarsScar formation is a natural part of the healing process after injury. The depth and size of the wound incision and the location of the injury impact the scar's characteristics, but your age, heredity and even sex or ethnicity will affect how your skin reacts.
Sedimentation RateA sedimentation rate is a common blood test that is used to detect and monitor inflammation in the body. It is performed by measuring the rate at which red blood cells (RBCs) settle in a test tube. The sedimentation rate is simply how far the top of the RBC layer has fallen in one hour, increasing with more inflammation.
Skin BiopsyDuring a skin biopsy, a piece of skin is removed under a local anesthesia and examined using a microscope. There are different types of skin biopsy:
- shave biopsy,
- punch biopsy,
- and excisional biopsy.