Lipedema or Just Fat Legs – Spotting the Tell-Tale Signs

Are you unhappy with the appearance of your lower body? Then, you may be wondering whether you have lipedema or just fat legs. Lipedema is a surprisingly common condition that primarily affects women, yet, it’s still underdiagnosed. Many sufferers believe they’re simply obese and never get the help they need. Even some doctors fail to spot the symptoms of this painful and problematic condition. 

So, how can women who endure the misery of lipedema get the right treatment? Here, we take a look at how you can identify whether you’re suffering from lipedema.

What Are the Hallmarks of Lipedema?

The characteristic sign of lipedema is symmetrical swelling that occurs in the buttocks, thighs, legs, and, occasionally, arms. Very few men are sufferers. Lipedema is often very painful, with tenderness in the affected parts of the body. Sufferers also bruise easily. As time goes on, lipedema often causes fluid retention through the affected areas. This results in a secondary medical problem known as lymphedema. Experts believe lipedema could have genetic causes. In some families, there are several cases of the condition. All too often, doctors mistake lipedema for obesity, cellulite, weight gain or lymphedema. Sufferers are, therefore, often told to eat less and exercise more. Unfortunately, neither of these solutions will work.

What Signs of Lipedema Should I Look For?

Lipedema occurs as a result of how the body distributes the adipose tissue (fat) below the skin. There is an uneven distribution of fat in the buttocks and legs. Usually, there will be an area inside the knees that’s excessively fatty. The outer part of the hip area will also be excessively fatty.

Someone suffering from lipedema will have: 

  • Legs that are swollen symmetrically. The swelling may occur from ankle to hip, giving a column-like appearance to the legs. Usually, the feet aren’t affected.
  • Areas of fat that feel cool and spongy, with soft skin.
  • Bruising on the affected body parts.
  • Spider or varicose veins on the affected body parts.
  • Sensitivity to touch in the legs and affected areas.
  • Discomfort in the affected areas.
  • Greater amounts of swelling during the evenings, in warm weather or after activity.

The Wider Implications of Lipedema

Do you recognize the above symptoms in yourself? Then, you may also recognize some of the following ways in which the condition can affect your life.

  • Walking and participating in exercise and physical activities is difficult.
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Restricted social life
  • Difficulty purchasing clothing 

Could There Be Another Reason for The Swelling?

Not everyone with a larger lower body is suffering from lipedema. There are some other causes of tissue swelling. These include: 

  • Obesity – When someone is obese, there will be an even distribution of fat throughout the body. Exercise and eating healthily will help to reduce the problem.
  • Chronic venous insufficiency and phlebedema – An absence of fat with fluid present are characteristics of these conditions. The skin will usually be itchy and have a brownish color as well.

If you’re worried about whether you have lipedema or just fat legs, you should seek advice from a medical professional. Whether you’re suffering from lipedema or obesity, liposuction can help to improve the appearance of your legs. Contact the Artlipo team today to find out more about how we can relieve your suffering and restore your self-confidence.