Disease

Lipedema

More about Lipedema

Lipedema is a chronic disease that constantly progresses, it is characterized by the abnormal, proliferation of fatty tissue on the buttocks, hips, legs, and feet. In extreme cases the upper half body of your body may be a size 8, while the bottom half may be a size 16.

Lipedema, limphostasis, elephantitis – many patients are unaware they have such a disease. They believe genetics is the cause of their disproportionately large legs, however the truth be known that this condition is caused by a disease which requires treatment.

Not long ago, this disease was considered extremely rare, yet today we know that lipedema may affect up to eleven percent of all women. Symptoms may appear at an early age, and gradually progress, patients walk with constant swelling, heaviness, fatigue, large legs, believing this condition is normal. However it is not the norm, this condition can and should be treated.

A longstanding myth is that it is only associated with the pathology of the lymphatic system, however phlebologists utilizing ultrasound are able to identify visible or hidden varicose veins. Once located, treatment is undertaken eliminating their symptoms and ultimate cause.

Additional information for patients
How is lipedema treated?

Prior to treatment, a detailed study of the venous system is prepared to determine the presence of varicose veins. Once identified, treatment can be prescribed to remediate the symptoms of lipedema. Treatment options include exercise, diet, massage, and use of compression undergarments. Should none of these treatments discussed produce positive results, liposuction may be prescribed.

Causes of lipedema

Many families have a predisposition to this disease. Medical studies have proven that the onset of lipedema coincides with hormonal changes, including puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

Varicose veins (varix) often occurs in conjunction with lipedema and may be a contributing factor during the initial phase of the disease. Varix, is a condition in which veins located in the lower extremities are altered and are subsequently not able to transfer venous blood effectively. As a result, fluid accumulates outside the varicose veins and creates excess pressure around the lymph vessels, retarding their ability drain fluids from the legs.

How to recognize lipedema?

Stage 1
The skin will appear healthy with no discoloring. Swelling of the extremities occurs during the day and decreases following rest. Patients respond well to compression stockings and lymphatic drainage treatment.

Stage 2
The skin becomes firm and thickens, lipomas, dermatitis, and inflammation occurs. Swelling increases during the day, and rest only provides partial relief. Treatment success is limited.

Stage 3
Characterized by significant and sustained hardening of the skin and subcutaneous fat. This stage is very difficult to treat.

Stage 4
This stage is characterized by severe sclerosis and pachydermia (abnormal thickness of tissue). Treatment is rarely effective.

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