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How Do You Get Lipedema?

Experts don’t fully understand the causes of lipedema at present. Even doctors are unsure what causes the condition. They believe, though, that female hormonal changes may be the cause. It usually only occurs in females. It may also have a genetic link as it tends to run in families.

Do Hormones Cause Lipedema?

Neither medical researchers nor doctors know all of the reasons lipedema happens. However, many doctors believe lipedema could have a hormonal connection, because it usually arises or worsens at times of female hormonal fluctuation. Some of the times during which lipedema may begin or get worse include:

  • Puberty
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Gynecological surgery

However, hormones may not be the only cause of lipedema. Doctors believe there may be other reasons why some people get lipedema, while others don’t get the condition.

Does Obesity Cause Lipedema?

Obesity doesn’t cause lipedema. In fact, doctors tell many lipedema sufferers they are obese, but this isn’t always the case. Obesity and lipedema may be similar in some respects, but they aren’t the same thing.

Obesity is different from lipedema in the following ways:

  • Obesity affects the whole body, rather than just the lower body. Lipedema usually affects the lower body, although it may affect the arms too.
  • Someone who is obese may also have large hands and feet. Lipedema doesn’t affect the feet and hands.
  • Obesity doesn’t cause pain or sensitivity in the legs, but lipedema will.
  • Obesity doesn’t cause easy bruising, while lipedema does.
  • It’s possible to improve obesity through diet and exercise, but dieting and exercising don’t improve lipedema.

Some women with lipedema are obese, but this is because they often struggle to exercise due to mobility issues. Not every woman with lipedema is obese. Lipedema affects women of all sizes. It’s even possible to suffer from an eating disorder and to have lipedema. Even if a woman with lipedema is very thin, her lower body will stay larger than her top half.

Can I Prevent Lipedema?

Unfortunately, you cannot prevent lipedema. If you are predisposed to developing lipedema, nothing you do will stop it from occurring. You can slow its progression down, though. You can slow down its progression by:

  • Getting an early diagnosis
  • Eating healthily
  • Exercising regularly
  • Hormone therapy medications may help
  • Wearing compression garments
  • Having a decongestive massage regularly

If you take these steps, the condition may take longer to complete each stage of its development.

Does Lipedema Always Progress?

Without any treatment, lipedema will eventually progress and go through several stages as it worsens. There are four stages of lipedema.

The first stage of lipedema has relatively mild symptoms. The skin remains smooth, but the amount of enlarged fat tissue increases. At this stage, patients often think they’re just putting on weight. If they try exercising and dieting, though, they find there is no effect.

The second stage of lipedema sees the skin become more uneven. Indentations appear in the fatty tissues. You can feel and see lipoma, which are large mounds of fatty tissue.

The third stage of lipedema can take a lot longer to set in. By the time a patient reaches this stage, the condition can be very deforming. Big extrusions of fatty tissue appear, usually around the thighs and knees. These can be unsightly and cause mobility problems as the fat rubs together.

The fourth stage of lipedema is very extreme. At this stage, lipolymphedema can develop. This condition involves both lymphedema and lipedema being present simultaneously. Large amounts of tissue overhang on the arms and legs. Patients at this stage experience considerable pain and discomfort. They struggle to remain mobile. They also usually experience mental health issues because of their symptoms.

Can Lipedema Be Treated?

Doctors cannot yet cure lipedema, but fortunately, they can treat this condition. There are two different options for treatment. Patients can opt for a conservative approach or choose to have surgery.

Conservative methods involve several treatments that doctors usually use together. These treatments include:

  • Manual lymphatic drainage. It is a massage therapy that helps to move lymph fluid more effectively around the body. It helps to reduce swelling. It is a short-term treatment for lipedema sufferers.
  • Compression garments. Usually, lipedema sufferers wear compression garments to reduce swelling in the affected limbs. These garments can be effective but are uncomfortable and hot to wear.
  • Diet and exercise. Exercising and dieting won’t get rid of the diseased fat, but it can help sufferers to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It may slow the progression of lipedema.

All conservative treatments only address the symptoms of lipedema. They are all short-term solutions. Surgery is a longer-term solution. It addresses the cause of lipedema – the diseased fat.

Liposuction surgery is the most effective treatment for lipedema. It removes the diseased fat cells. Not only does it reduce pain and improve mobility, but it also improves self-esteem by restoring a more proportional body shape.

Contact the ArtLipo team today to arrange a consultation and get the treatment you need.

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