New Partnership with Dr. Karen Herbst

New Partnership with Dr. Karen Herbst

We are proud to introduce a new partnership with Dr. Karen Herbst MD PhD. It’s an amazing opportunity to bring some awareness to some relatively unknown conditions, highlight her specialties and provide some viable tools to help her patients manage the symptoms associated with Loose Connective Tissue Disorders

Dr. Karen Herbst, MD, PhD is a Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Specialist based in Tucson, AZ. Karen earned a PhD in Cell Physiology from the University of Iowa and went on to complete a Howard Hughes Fellowship at the University of Utah. 

During her time at the University of Utah, Dr. Herbst identified a mutation in ribosomal protein L9 that could no longer suppress bypassing, frameshifting, and stop codon hopping (decoding fidelity) during the translation step of protein synthesis. While sitting in a lab surrounded by petri dishes Karen had a defining moment, coming to the realization that what she wanted to be hands on and help people directly. Karen went on to Graduate from medical school at Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois, graduating with her medical degree (MD) in 1996. While in Illinois she was able to spend some quality time with her grandfather who had turned 100. 

Dr. Herbst finished her post-graduate education, residency, and chief residency, at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. Fascinated with subcutaneous adipose (fat) tissue, she went on to complete a combined research and clinical Endocrine Fellowship also at the where she could study the obesity that led to diabetes and blood fat (cholesterol and triglycerides).

It was in the lipid clinic at the University of Washington that Dr. Herbst first encountered a fat disease with abnormal or degenerative conditions of the body's adipose tissue called Kobberling lipodystrophy. From there Dr. Herbst cared for patients with multiple symmetric lipomatosis (MSL or Madelung’s disease) and from the owner of a MSL website, learned about Dercum’s disease. Soon after she met her first patients with lipedema. 

Board-certified in endocrinology, Dr. Herbst uses her skills to care for patients with loose connective (fat) tissue diseases such as Dercum’s disease and Lipedema. Dr. Herbst is a passionate, caring advocate for her patients and is a driving contributor for many initiatives in the Fat Disorders community. 

Dr. Herbst’s faculty positions include Martin Luther King Drew Medical Center/UCLA, the VA San Diego Health Care System/UCSD, and the University of Arizona.

She has been named one of America’s top physicians and won the Lifetime Achievement Award from Tucson Business in 2019. You may have seen her as the research physician on Mystery Diagnosis, and episode called ‘The Man with 1000 Lumps’- which featured a man suffering from Dercum’s Disease . Dr Herbst introduced the Cyclic Variations in Adaptive Conditioning (CVAC) in an appearance on the Doctor’s Show (

In 2019 in collaboration with a team of 22 people Dr. Herbst spearheaded a NIH-sponsored conference to establish the Standard of Care for Lipedema . The Team’s Paper has been submitted for review for publication. Dr. Herbst presented new ICD-10 codes for lipedema and Dercum’s Disease to the CDC in the summer of 2020, 

Dr. Herbst has recently started a new not for profit organization, FACT Education and Research. She continues her passion for helping people with connective tissue disorders as part of Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, California and with Dr. Jaime Schwartz and is always in pursuit of new treatments and tools to help her patients manage symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. 

Lipedema is relatively unknown to most doctors and is one of the most under-diagnosed fat disorders in the world. Estimates are that 10-18 million women in the United States have Lipedema, almost 11 percent of the female population suffer from this often painful connective tissue disorder.

Dr. Herbst is loved by her patients and admired by her colleagues. Somewhat of a celebrity within the community she is not only brilliant but so humble and down to earth. She genuinely cares for those seeking answers and is always looking for innovative new solutions. Dr Herbst recommends a number of tools for her patients to manage symptoms including Lifepro’s vibration plates. Their affordable, low frequency oscillating plates have great capacity to move lymphatic fluid, boost circulation and help manage other symptoms associated with these conditions. 


Joel Gottehrer

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