What could be causing fat to develop dear my father's kidney?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 02, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father developed fat on a vein near his kidney. He was given tablets, and then he developed a lump on the cheek. It was removed under surgery, and they found the fat again. What could be causing this fat to build?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

In the human body, the kidneys are naturally surrounded by fat, as it helps to protect and cushion them. Some people will develop more abdominal fat due to a poor diet that is high in fat or lack of exercise.

Regarding the the growth in your father's cheek, this could have been a lipoma, which is a soft, fatty growth that can occur on the body. No one knows why these occur or how to prevent them. Or it could have been a xanthoma, which develops in people with high cholesterol levels. There usually occur on the elbows, tendons, joints, hands, feet, knees and buttocks. Although they are not serious, they can be painful and cosmetically disfiguring. Xanthoma may also plague patients with physical discomfort.

The best way to prevent any further xanthoma development would be to control cholesterol. Sometimes statin medications are prescribed to help do this, so I would ask his health care provider why the medications are not helping.