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5 Ways to Fight Lipedema | Lifestyle Changes You Can Make

Lipedema is actually a hereditary fat disorder which often causes painful swelling in the lower portion of the body, usually in the legs and lower abdomen. It is caused by the buildup of fat and fluids in tissues located just below the skin.

Misdiagnosis of Lipedema

Unfortunately, many people suffering from lipedema will appear to be overweight or obese, and are often mistakenly diagnosed as such. Additionally, this condition is often diagnosed as lymphedema; however, lymphedema will usually only affect one limb. Lipedema will affect both legs equally. Unlike lymphedema, lipedema does not affect the feet. In fact, many will experience a ring at the ankle where the swelling stops, this ring is described as looking like the cuff of Turkish pants that blouses out above and then narrow to a small cuff.

Ways to Fight Lipedema

As previously stated, lipedema is hereditary, and often those suffering from this condition are often confused with obesity or “being fat”.  Some suffers of lipedema also can get a secondary obesity; however, obesity is primarily an excess of the visceral abdominal fat, while lipedema is a disorder of the fat under the skin on arms and legs.     The fat of lipedema is not responsive to weight loss often causing patients to become frustrated. There are several things that can be undertaken to control and often reduce the appearance of lipedema including:

  • Maintain a healthy diet – This is a crucial step in managing lipedema. While lipedema is not very responsive to weight loss, unfortunately weight gain can make it worse.  In a way the lipedema fat traps excess calories but won’t release them when weight loss occurs. The diet should eliminate sugars, fast foods, processed foods, unhealthy oils and other such foods. It is crucial to at least maintain a calorie balance to avoid weight gain that will worsen lipedema.
  • Exercise is important – It is important to exercise to keep the lipedema under control. Patients should especially exercise the legs. Some of the best exercises are walking, cycling, and swimming. Exercise not only maintains muscle mass but also stimulates lymphatic circulation which help control lipedema symptoms.
  • Manual lymph drainage – This should be undertaken once or twice a week and has been shown to be very effective in battling lipedema. A special massage technique essentially opens the lymphatic vessels to allow natural drainage of the fluids. This is often combined with brushing and wraps.
  • Wear compression garments – Wearing compression garments is important, especially in combination with lymph drainage massage. Compression garments promote venous and lymphatic drainage and help prevent swelling.  Earlier stages of lipedema [ hyperlink] often only require lower degrees of compression.
  • Supplements and Medications  –  There are several nutritional medications that have been shown to be helpful for the symptoms of lipedema, these include the supplement Diosmin, which is an extract of citrus fruit. There are also several medications doctors can prescribe which can help control the pain and swelling of lipedema.

Dr. Thomas Wright, medical director of Laser Lipo and Vein Center says, “In lipedema cases, it is very important that the correct diagnosis is made so the proper course of treatment can be implemented.” He also continues, “Lipedema, if left untreated can lead to other serious conditions, so it is imperative that diagnosis and treatment be made as early as possible. Treatment begins with the life style changes and can progress to liposuction for some affected individuals.” If you are concerned about lipedema, please contact us at the Laser Lipo and Vein Center today. Dr. Wright and his experienced team of professionals can diagnose your condition, along with providing the very best treatment for your individual case.