Lipedema Awareness Month occurs every June. People with lipedema and doctors that treat them hope to increase understanding and knowledge of this disease. Unfortunately, many people, including medical professionals, still fail to recognize its symptoms. Millions of people, mostly women, around the world suffer from lipedema. Yet very doctors can spot the signs of this condition. Most have never even heard of it. That makes it very difficult to get a diagnosis in the first place. Even after getting a diagnosis, many sufferers struggle to access suitable treatments. So, what options are available for those who discover they suffer from this progressive abnormal fat condition?
What is Lipedema?
Lipedema is a poorly understood condition caused by diseased fat. The causes of lipedema currently remain unknown. Nevertheless, experts believe it may have an association with hormones and genetics. Estrogen may have a vital role since most sufferers are female, and symptoms usually arise or worsen during hormonal shifts. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are all key moments of hormonal change when lipedema worsens. Furthermore, lipedema tends to run in families. Women with a close female relative suffering from the condition are likely to develop it too.
Lipedema is a progressive condition that only worsens over time. Initially, the symptoms are quite mild. They’re also easily confused with those occurring due to other conditions like lymphedema and obesity. For this reason, many doctors don’t diagnose their patients correctly until the condition is very advanced. By that time, sufferers have significant physical and mental health problems.
Some of the signs to look out for include symmetrically swollen, column-like legs, easy bruising, and tenderness to the touch. Often, sufferers have a lower body several sizes larger than their upper body. They may have cuffs of fat around their ankles and wrists but normal-sized hands and feet. One crucial symptom of lipedema is the texture of the skin. It may feel as if there are grains of rice, peas, or walnuts below the surface.
Also read – Are Lipomas and Lipedema the Same Thing?
Is There a Cure for Lipedema?
Sadly, there is currently no cure for lipedema. There are treatments that can help to manage the disease. These treatment options can have varying degrees of success. Therefore, it’s essential to understand what options are available and which are best for you.
Which Treatments Do Doctors Recommend?
Most doctors will suggest that patients try conservative treatments first. These treatments include manual lymphatic drainage, wearing compression garments, and living a healthy lifestyle. These treatments address only the symptoms, not the cause of the disease. They can produce some relief, but it is only short-lived. The condition continues to progress despite these treatments.
What is the Best Treatment for Lipedema?
Surgery is the best treatment for lipedema. Liposuction is the surgical procedure needed to relieve pain and suffering in the long term. Surgeons make small incisions in the affected areas and suction out the diseased fat. Although it isn’t a cure, it brings long-lasting relief and improves patients’ quality of life. Liposuction can reduce pain and improve mobility while also restoring a more proportionate body appearance.
If you want to undergo lipedema liposuction, you need to find an experienced surgeon to carry out this procedure. This lipedema awareness month, get in touch with Dr. Su at ArtLipo to arrange your consultation.
Dr. Thomas Su, is the owner and cosmetic surgeon of Artistic Lipo. He has led our full-time clinic specializing in awake-only liposuction since 2007. Dr. Su began his medical career in internal medicine, practicing that until 2005, when he began to provide a full spectrum of non-invasive cosmetic procedures.