Despite lipedema having been a recognized medical condition for decades, it’s still poorly understood. Patients and doctors alike are often confused by the symptoms. This frequently leads to misdiagnosis. Often, doctors will tell women with lipedema they’re just obese and need to exercise more. For years, they struggle to shed the excess fat with dieting and exercise. Of course, they fail, since they cannot cure lipedema that way. 

As each year goes by without being diagnosed, patients develop worse physical symptoms. The fat deposits become more painful, and mobility becomes increasingly affected. In terms of mental and emotional health, sufferers also have problems. Anxiety and depression are all too common in those with lipedema. It’s important, then, to raise awareness of this condition and to know the lipedema symptoms to look out for. Knowing when they are most likely to begin may help sufferers get earlier treatment.

At What Age Does Lipedema Begin to Show Itself?

There is no single answer to this question. In some sufferers, the condition will begin to show symptoms as early as 10 years old. In others, hormonal fluctuations, such as menopause, will trigger it later in life. The average age of onset, however, is between 10 and 30 years of age. 

Why Does Lipedema Often Begin at Such an Early Age?

Presently, doctors don’t know the precise cause of lipedema. However, they believe there’s a connection between it and female hormones. The reasoning for this is that it almost exclusively occurs in women. The body seems to trigger it when hormone levels fluctuate. One of the key times for hormonal fluctuations in a woman’s life is during puberty. Therefore, many lipedema symptoms arise around the time of the first menstrual period. 

What Else May Trigger the Symptoms of Lipedema to Appear?

Lipedema may begin to appear at any time of hormonal upheaval. So, there are several times in a woman’s life when it may arise. If symptoms don’t appear around puberty, they may appear when a woman is pregnant. They may also begin around the time of menopause. If a woman has gynecological surgery, this, too, may precipitate symptoms to show themselves. For this reason, there are many stages of a woman’s life when her body may trigger lipedema. 

Why Is It Important to Know When Symptoms of Lipedema Will Appear?

The early signs of lipedema can be very similar to other conditions, including obesity. This is why it can be tricky to diagnose in stage 1. If a family member suffers from lipedema, it’s worth checking out whether you have it, too. This is because medical experts believe it has a genetic link. Women with at least one other close relative suffering from lipedema have a greater chance of suffering themselves. For these women, knowing the rough times when symptoms may begin to appear can be helpful. If they know what to look out for and when to expect changes to appear, they can seek help quickly. The earlier you get treatment for lipedema, the better the outcome. 

What Are the Signs of Lipedema?

If you have lipedema, you may begin to notice your lower body is becoming larger than your upper body. If you go on a diet, you’ll find your upper body becomes slimmer, but your legs remain stubbornly large. It will be virtually impossible to reduce the size of your legs, buttocks, and hips, no matter what you do. Eventually, you may notice that your lower body bruises easily and feels painful when touched. The skin may also feel different from that of your upper body and may have fatty nodules under it. Your lower body may take on a column-like appearance, with a similar appearance on both sides. These are the earliest symptoms to be aware of. 

Eventually, if lipedema remains untreated, the symptoms will get worse. The lower body will become increasingly disproportionate. The fatty deposits will also become more painful to the touch. Over time, you may find your mobility affected. Walking or standing for long periods becomes uncomfortable or painful. You may also start to develop uneven fat distribution in your upper arms. The difference between lipedema and obesity is in the cuff of fat around the wrist and ankle. While the feet and hands look normal, there will be fat pads just above them on the leg and arm.

Getting Help for Lipedema

If you have noticed the symptoms of lipedema, you should seek professional medical advice. You can have liposuction to reduce the symptoms you experience. Lipo helps to reduce swelling and pain. It also restores a more normal appearance for better self-confidence and emotional well-being. Here at Artlipo, we offer specialist lipo surgery for lipedema sufferers. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you.