It should be noted that those who are obese may not be that way because they eat too much food. There are some who have fat tissue that don’t respond to diet and exercise. Interestingly, you may not be large or overweight and still suffer from these conditions because of an adipose tissue disorder.
Recently, a new program called Treatment, Research and Education of Adipose Tissue, or TREAT, was started through a $1.5 million gift from the Lipedema Foundation. The program is based at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson.
TREAT is enabling noted researcher Dr. Karen Herbst to expand efforts to better understand, diagnose, and treat adipose disorders. Says Dr. Herbst, “People with fat disorders have excess fat, or fatty tissue, on their bodies that cannot be lost by lifestyle changes. It’s pretty difficult for the medical community to accept that fact.”
Lipedema is the most common adipose tissue disorder (ATD). In fact, it is estimated that approximately 17 million women in the United States suffer from lipedema.
Studies show that many lipedema sufferers may not be overweight/obese and are seemingly health. Alternatively, other sufferers can experience health issues such as cardiovascular and/or orthopedic issues that are associated with being overweight.
One of Dr. Herbst’s primary goals is to improve imaging and phenotyping of abnormal and normal fat tissue. Additionally, she wants to educate healthcare providers to allow them to better recognize and properly diagnose those with ATDs.
University of Arizona alumna Felicitie Daftuar provided the $1.5 million gift through the Lipedema Foundation. Ms. Daftaur is the founder and executive director of the Foundation.
Ms. Daftuar stated that she gets upset with doctors who are insensitive to those affected by ATDs. She says, “There’s a lot of obesity, but you go your doctor and they say, ‘Stop eating’ or ‘Clean up your diet.’ These are people who record everything they eat. Then they go to their doctor and say, ‘Here’s my proof. I only eat 800 or 1,200 calories a day.’ And the doctor tells them, ‘Well, cut back another hundred.’ That’s not a constructive conversation. These women, they can be obese and anorexic at the same time.”
Dr. Thomas Wright of the Laser Lipo and Vein Center agrees. He says, “I am in complete agreement with this study and educational outreach. I understand how frustrating it can be when patients are told they are simply obese. My team and I understand the implications of lipedema and work with each patient to ensure he or she is receiving the correct diagnosis.” He continues, “If lipedema is present, my team understands how to effectively treat this adipose tissue disorder, without telling the patient they are simply overweight.”
Please give us a call if you are concerned with or have any question surrounding lipedema or adipose tissue disorders.