What is lipedema? Symptoms and Treatment

What is lipedema

Lipedema is a disease that occurs in the fatty tissues of the skin, especially in the legs, although it can also affect the arms. This disease is triggered as a result of inflammation of the fat cells that are located in the hips and thighs. When this happens, they proliferate uncontrollably and there is an inflammation of the adipose tissue in that area.

Although it is usually associated with overweight people, lipedema can affect anyone, mostly women. Even when a woman is thin, she can suffer from this kind of problem, as there are factors that increase the risk of lipedema. Genetic predisposition and hormonal changes are the main risk factors.

Lipedema, degrees and symptoms

Degrees of lipedema

Lipedema is located in the areas where it usually appears cellulite, on the hips, thighs or arms. Although in many cases it also affects the lower legs, from the ankle to the knees. This alteration of the adipose tissue is classified into 3 degrees, depending on how it affects the person who suffers from it. These are the degrees of lipedema:

  • Grade I: It is the mildest degree of this disease. At first glance the surface of the skin is smooth, although it is not firm. But when the area is touched, nodules can be detected of fat.
  • Grade II: Skin looks irregular to the naked eye and touch it is hard, as the fat nodules become larger and more visible.
  • Grade III: It is the most serious stage of lipedema, nodules are visible to the naked eye and they are located in a generalized way in the hips and ankles.

When the disease begins to manifest, it is very common not to detect the symptoms since they can go unnoticed. This causes a grade I lipedema to go to a more severe stage without the affected person hardly realizing it. The evolution of this disease can manifest itself in different ways, these are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Un increase in volume disproportionate in affected areas.
  • Appears sudden swelling and it is repeated frequently, you may also feel tingling.
  • Itching in the affected areas, as well as sensitivity to the simple touch of the skin.
  • With menstruation symptoms can be aggravated, too after exercising and in the heat.
  • Heaviness and pain in the legs, are the most common symptoms and the first to make an appearance.

Treatment for lipedema

Treatment for lipedema

One of the main problems with lipedema is that many doctors are still unaware of it. This makes treatment very difficult and in many cases ineffective techniques are used. For women with lipedema, it can be frustrating and lead to other emotional disturbances. Since, if you do not find a doctor who specializes in this problem, it is very difficult to act in the correct way.

Therefore, if you think you may have lipedema, you should seek help from a doctor who specializes in this problem, which generally translates into cosmetic and private medicine. Once the diagnosis is made, it is time to begin treatment. Currently there are two options, a traditional one, slow and with ineffective results in many cases.

It is a mixture of exercise in water with a minimum of 3 weekly sessions and the use of compression stockings. This treatment helps reduce pain, although the volume of the nodules is hardly reduced. The second and most effective treatment is surgery. Specifically, water-assisted decompression liposuction. With this surgical technique, the natural shape of the body is returned, fat nodules are reduced and the patient's quality of life is significantly improved.

Although it may seem like an aesthetic problem, lipedema produces great aches and pains that prevent a normal life. As the exact causes are still unknown, there are no totally effective prevention measures. However, the best way to avoid this type of problems associated with the accumulation of fat, is to follow a varied, balanced and moderate diet, as well as exercise on regular basis.


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