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ABout Lipedema

If you’ve recently received a lipedema diagnosis, you may be searching for more information about this poorly understood condition. Perhaps you’ve only recently learned about this medical problem and are wondering whether you’re a sufferer.

Here, we take a closer look at the health issue known as “painful fat.” We help you to identify the causes and symptoms. We’ll also point you in the right direction of treatments to improve your quality of life.

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    what is lipedema?

    Lipedema is a medical problem that involves the irregular distribution of fat under the skin. Usually, it affects the legs, hips, and buttocks. Sometimes, though, it can affect the upper arms, too. While lipedema usually starts as a primarily cosmetic problem, over time, it often causes pain and poor mobility.

    Unfortunately, it’s also a poorly understood problem. Therefore, even doctors sometimes struggle to diagnose it. It’s frequently mistaken for lymphedema (an entirely different condition), or regular obesity. Yet, doctors believe as many as 11 percent of all women are sufferers.

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    How is Lipedema Diagnosed?

    Lipedema is a medical problem that involves the irregular distribution of fat under the skin. Usually, it affects the legs, hips, and buttocks.

    Sometimes, though, it can affect the upper arms, too. While lipedema usually starts as a primarily cosmetic problem, over time, it often causes pain and poor mobility.
    Unfortunately, it’s also a poorly understood problem.

    Therefore, even doctors sometimes struggle to diagnose it. It’s frequently mistaken for lymphedema (an entirely different condition), or regular obesity. Yet, doctors believe as many as 11 percent of all women are sufferers.

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    Progression of the Disease

    Stage 1
    • The legs will appear to be disproportionately larger than the sufferer’s upper body.
    • Losing weight won’t decrease the amount of fat in the affected areas.
    • The fat affects both sides of the body equally.
    • Fat pads often appear below and above the knee, making it hard to see their regular shape.
    • The feet and ankles have no excess swelling or fat, and the skin looks a normal, healthy color.
    • When you apply pressure, the fat causes pain.
    • The lipedema fat deposits are also more likely to bruise. Cellulitis and inflammatory processes are also more common.
    • While the fat feels soft, it’s different from fat areas of the upper body. You may feel small and evenly dispersed fat nodules.
    • The “Stemmer’s Sign” will be negative.
    • If you apply pressure, no pitting occurs.
    Stage 2

    The symptoms of Stage 1 persist. In addition:

    • Fatty lumps the size of a fist may appear.
    • It’s easy to feel fatty nodes under the skin.
    • The skin appears textured, discolored, and uneven.
    Stage 3

    The symptoms of Stage 1 persist. In addition:

    • Fatty lumps the size of a fist may appear.
    • It’s easy to feel fatty nodes under the skin.
    • The skin appears textured, discolored, and uneven.

    Nonsurgical Treatments
    for Lipedema

    Comprehensive Decongestive Therapy
    This treatment combines manual lymph drainage with skin care and bandaging exercises.
    Manual Lymphatic Drainage
    This rhythmic massage follows the lymph flow direction, which reduces swelling. It helps in the removal of waste products, fluids, debris, and protein particles.
    Compression Garments.
    Patients must wear these regularly to help maintain and manage the condition.
    Pneumatic Compression Devices
    You inflate and deflate these garments intermittently to move the fluid and eliminate it.
    Diet and Exercise
    Maintaining a healthy body weight helps to control the symptoms of lipedema.
    Supplements
    Taking bioflavonoids, selenium, Vitamin P, and other supplements to promote lymphatic system strength.
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