There are many facts about lipidema that you may not be aware of. It is most often confused with lymphedema or regular obesity. It is, however, a completely different condition, and it can affect up to 11% of women.
Lipedema is a condition that causes the fat to be distributed in an irregular way beneath your skin, generally in the legs and buttocks. It is often an inherited condition and is almost always exclusive to women.
Lipedema can happen to people of all size—from those who may be underweight, to obese individuals, and anyone in between. It presents as excess fat deposits in unusual patterns. For instance, legs affected by lipedema often look like columns, and the lower halves may be larger than the top half.
One way of thinking about the affect of lipedema is to have a size 16 bottom with a size 8 top. As the condition progresses, the fat deposits will continue to build and cause the body to grow heavier. In some cases, lipedema can occur in the arms.
While the actual cause of lipedema is unknown at this time, it is thought that genes and/or hormones may be involved. This is due to the fact that it affects mainly women, and it often appears or worsens during puberty, pregnancy, following gynecologic surgery, or at menopause. While diet and exercise will not reduce the lipedema fat, they can help you lose weight and reduce inflammation.
Delaying lipedema treatment can lead to conditions such as delayed wound healing, infections, development of fibrosis, and hardening of the skin.
There are different treatments available depending upon the individual case. These treatments include manual lymphatic draining, wearing compressing garments and exercise. With more severe cases, liposuction—specifically water assisted lipo and tumescent lipo—can help remove the fat deposits.
If you are concerned about lipedema, Dr. Wright of Laser Lipo and Vein Center says, “It is important to diagnose and treat lipedema early, before it can become more serious. I encourage anyone concerned about this condition to visit our office for a complete exam and diagnosis.”