Lipedema is a little known disease even among medical professionals, and surely those of you who are reading this article can confirm that this is so. You have probably had to visit several doctors to finally get a diagnosis, you have been told to lose weight, to do more exercise, that you have thick legs due to genetics or poor circulation. It has happened to you, right? Also many others do not even have a diagnosis and doubt if you have Lipedema.
That is why from the Valencian Institute of Lipedema to explain the most relevant aspects of Lipedema or Lipedema, as it is also known. It is a progressive disease of the fatty tissue that is characterized by a pathological accumulation of fat predominantly in the lower extremities, i.e. the legs (from hip to ankle), but also affects the upper extremities (arms). Lipedema affects neither the hands nor the feet and is symmetrical, unlike Lymphedema, which usually affects unilaterally.
This results in unbalanced silhouettes, thin bodies in many cases with thick legs and that no matter how much diet and exercise is performed, the legs do not lose volume or hardly lose volume. In addition, fat usually hurts and causes discomfort, and that is why Lipedema is also known as “painful fat syndrome”. Let’s go now to the causes and symptoms of Lipedema.
CAUSES OF LIPEDEMA
It has been proven that there is a genetic component, and also a hormonal component, since it frequently begins or intensifies coinciding with a change in hormone levels (puberty, pregnancy, menopause, taking birth control pills…), but there are still no definitive studies about the origin of Lipedema. Possible causes:
Genetic: To date it is known that there is some evidence of a genetic predisposition, since between 15 and 64% of patients have a history of lipedema in their family.
Age: It usually appears at puberty and worsens with pregnancy or menopause.
Obesity: Obesity and hypothyroidism are aggravating factors of lipedema.
SYMPTOMS OF LIPEDEMA
Patients may experience the following symptoms:
Hypersensitivity, pain in the soft tissues both at rest and when walking or touching them.
Feeling of heaviness, fatigue, tingling.
Accumulation of lipedemic fat, from the waist to the knees or ankles.
Frequent appearance of hematomas, not even remembering their origin.
Emotional affectation due to the lack of knowledge of the disease and consequent delay in the diagnosis.
If you have any of these symptoms you can contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling: +34 96 341 06 00, we will inform you and put at your disposal our multidisciplinary team. As we were saying, it is very common to confuse it with obesity or even with cellulite, but they are different and we are going to explain their main differences and maybe you yourselves can use these arguments before the medical professionals who do not know how to distinguish it.
LIPEDEMA VS CELLULITE
Cellulitis is the acute inflammation of the soft tissues of the skin, diffuse, painful and suppurative, affecting the dermis and subcutaneous cellular tissue, however in lipedema there is also accumulation of fat, but at a deeper subcutaneous level, and as we have indicated, mainly from the hip to the ankles. It produces alteration of the prelymphatic channels and causes fragility in the blood capillaries.
Cellulite, on the other hand, is irregular fat deposits that women tend to accumulate around the belly, hips and thighs. Cellulitis is also an acute bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue usually caused by streptococci or staphylococci.
LIPEDEMA VS. OBESITY
If we stop to look at the difference between lipedema and obesity we find that obesity has different signs as far as fat is concerned. In obesity, fat is distributed proportionally throughout the body, something that does not happen with lipedema, which, as we have said before, is usually focused on specific areas of the human body. Lipedema, in addition, usually generates pain and obesity does not. The main treatment for obesity is to have a healthy diet and exercise more frequently. Lipedema requires a different type of treatment, since it does not respond significantly to conventional diet and exercise.
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