Lipedema is a medical condition affecting around 11% of women around the world. Yet unfortunately, it is a poorly understood problem, even in the medical community. As there are many misconceptions about this disease, it isn’t surprising that many people who receive a diagnosis are confused. One thing that confuses sufferers is the difference between lipedema disease and lipomas. Lipomas are associated with this condition, but lipomas and lipedema aren’t the same thing.
What Is Lipedema?
Lipedema is a medical condition that causes excessive fat accumulation on the lower half of the body. Typically, the disease involves the calves, thighs, and buttocks. In some patients, the upper arms have excess fat too. The feet and hands remain unaffected.
Nobody knows the precise cause of lipedema. However, it appears to be a genetically inherited condition. Sufferers are almost always female. Typically, the condition begins at puberty, menopause, or during pregnancy. For this reason, doctors believe it has a hormonal connection. Many doctors misdiagnose sufferers as being obese. However, lipedema isn’t the same thing as obesity and obesity doesn’t cause it.
Nevertheless, over half of all sufferers are obese or overweight. Fat is typically only lost in the upper body if patients lose weight. The lower body remains the same.
Some symptoms include fatty build-up in the buttocks, calves, thighs, and upper arms. The texture of the fat is unusual, with nodules under the skin. The sufferer experiences pain and tenderness when touching the affected areas. It is a progressive condition, and as it worsens, it affects mobility. Sufferers also experience emotional issues, including depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Eventually, patients may develop lipo-lymphedema, which is more severe and even more debilitating.
Also Read: What is My Lipedema Life Expectancy?
What Are Lipomas?
A lipoma is a fatty, soft lump growing underneath the skin. Lipomas are prevalent and harmless, so in most cases, they require no treatment. They’re very common and feel squishy and soft. Some lipomas are as small as a green pea, while others are several inches across. Typically, they don’t cause pain; and they move slightly if pressed.
Are Lipomas Dangerous
Lipomas aren’t dangerous, but sufferers often experience distress due to their appearance. Many people with lipomas have low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
Is Lipedema Life-Threatening?
Lipedema in itself isn’t a life-threatening condition. Nevertheless, it restricts mobility over time, leading to other health problems. More than 50% of lipedema sufferers are obese. Obesity is associated with various health problems, including heart issues, hypertension, and diabetes.
Are Lipomas And Lipedema Connected?
Lipomas and lipedema are not the same. However, some patients with lipedema also have lipomas. Lipomas and lipedema have some characteristics in common. Both may be hereditary and are typically seen only in women. Both conditions involve the growth of fatty tissues and affect similar target areas.
How Do I Know If I’m Suffering From Lipedema Or A Lipoma?
Lipedema and lipomas have different symptoms. A lipoma is a smaller, more isolated lump of fat. It grows slowly and causes no pain when touched. Lipedema causes pain when touched. Lipedema also involves more generalized swelling. It occurs symmetrically on the body. For example, it affects both legs equally. Usually, a lipoma appears in one location only.
If you have both lipedema and lipomas, you’ll have symptoms of both conditions. You will have generalized swelling on both sides of your body. You’ll also feel pain and tenderness to the touch. You may feel fatty nodules under your skin too. Not only will you have these signs of lipedema, but you’ll also have distinct fatty lumps that are lipomas. These will feel squishy and soft without causing pain. They will not be symmetrical on the body.
If you experience the symptoms of lipedema, a lipoma, or both conditions, it’s crucial to get medical advice. If you believe you suffer from lipedema, you must see a specialist. Not all doctors can identify this condition, so seeking an experienced professional is vital.
Can Lipomas Be Treated?
It is possible to treat lipomas. If it is a large lipoma, surgical removal is the best solution. If the lipoma is small, liposuction may be sufficient to remove it.
Can Lipedema Be Treated?
Currently, lipedema has no cure, but there are treatments available. Conservative treatments like manual lymphatic drainage and compression garments only address the symptoms. Liposuction is the best treatment option. It addresses the cause – the diseased fat. Liposuction removes the diseased fat from the body permanently. As a result, the patient usually has less pain and experiences greater mobility. The surgeon also restores a more proportionate appearance to their body.
Where Can I Find A Specialist To Treat My Condition?
It’s essential to find a lipedema specialist to diagnose your condition and give you the treatment you need. Dr. Su at ArtLipo in Florida is an expert in the field and carries out lipedema liposuction regularly. Get in touch today if you want to know more about lipomas and lipedema.
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.