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Lipedema is a very misunderstood and underdiagnosed condition. It only resembles obesity superficially, and yet is commonly mistaken for it. Its causes, symptoms, and treatments are radically different from those of obesity. Unfortunately, even medical professionals often fail to recognize lipedema and it, therefore, goes mistreated and misunderstood. It is crucial for both doctor and patient alike to be experts in the signs that characterize lipidemic fat vs regular fat.
To begin with, perhaps, the most common and most important misconception. Lipidemic fat is unresponsive to exercise and diet changes. Do not make the mistake of thinking that lipedema has anything to do with overeating or laziness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lipedema causes are not totally understood but it seems to be related to hormonal changes. Indeed, it most commonly manifests in women during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, which are times of hormonal change. It also seems related to genetics in that it appears to run in the family. Scientists have theorized that polygenetic susceptibility might lurk behind it, especially when combined with microvascular and lymphatic disorders.
Just to give a bit more general background: it was first identified in the US in 1940, and so should be well known, but it in fact remains barely known in the USA in our times. It is a disease of the fatty tissue which grows progressively worse. More specifically, it manifests in women’s legs, hips, and thighs. Because the fatty deposits are considerable, and because the surrounding skin is painful, it affects the quality of life in a drastic way. It is physically debilitating, restricting movement oftentimes severely. Its pronounced appearance together with its physical limitations can lead to depression and other psychological difficulties. At present, there is no known cure for lipedema.
Lipedema fat vs regular fat – Big legs small upper body
Many women wonder – why are my legs so fat compared to the rest of my body. It is true that the development of a larger lower body can be symptomatic of lipedema. This includes calves, legs, hips, and thighs. The first thing, though, is to learn as much as we can about lipedema fat vs regular fat, so we might be able to decide accurately whether or not the condition affects us. In the case of normal obesity, fat deposits are widespread over the body and fairly evenly so. Lipedema causes fat depositing and swelling of legs, arms, hips, and buttocks, but not hands and feet. Often one finds quite a definite distinction between legs and feet in terms of swelling.
If we examine lipedema fat vs regular fat with respect to gender, it is clear that, mostly, the female sex is more touched by the condition, with an estimated 11% of women affected. Another distinction is the fact that obesity affects all ages, but lipedema is known to strike at the onset of hormonal changes, as mentioned.
Women often wonder, ‘Why are my legs so fat compared with the rest of my body? Here it is important to understand the difference between lipedema fat vs regular fat. It is important to consider the possibility of lipedema, especially if some of the lipidemic symptoms mentioned above are apparent. However, do not jump to conclusions all that quickly. The first point of call is to find out if this is lipedema or just fat legs. The latter possibility would be most likely and would also be very good news. Diet and exercise will have a marked effect on legs that are simply heavy, but this won’t be the case with lipedema.
Another of the very first questions to ask yourself when deciding on this matter is, ‘Does the skin over the fat hurt or not?’. If it does, you should seriously consider consulting with a doctor and suggesting the possibility of lipedema. Also, take a look at a few lipedema pictures, (though not too many, as this may disturb you), in order to get an idea of some of the kinds of appearances the condition can tend to take on. You’ll now recognize the look of lipedema fat.
Lipedema fat vs regular fat – Lipedema stages
Stage one and two
If you’ve been concerned about your legs for some time, learn a bit about the stages of the condition in order to compare with your own. Stage one brings an enlarged hypodermis (fatty tissue) but a normal skin surface. Stage two begins when uneven skin appears together with fat indentations and we see the formation of larger hypodermal masses. Here it becomes more straightforward to distinguish lipedema fat vs regular fat.
In the third stage, we find bulky skin and fat extrusions, as well as larger deformations on the thighs and knees. These can inhibit mobility. Means of managing the condition should be sought out before the onset of this stage. Monitor your body, keeping these stages in mind, and evaluate whether your fat resembles lipedema fat vs regular fat.
Lipedema symptoms include pain in the lower extremities and easy bruising. Fatty tissue is soft and doughy, only becoming firmer with longstanding lipedema. These are particularly important telltale signs to distinguish lipedema fat vs regular fat. Unlike lipedema, obesity will not spare the feet. And keep an eye out for varicose veins, since these are common in lipedema. Do take note that if you have a history of lower extremity cellulitis or skin ulceration, the most likely cause of your varicose veins is not lipedema but chronic venous stasis. Finally, is there any skin hypersensitivity? If so, you have a gauge by which to recognize lipedema fat vs regular fat.
Taking the discussion on lipedema fat vs regular fat further, half of the women affected by lipedema experience its effects in their arms. So, although the usual target area are the lower extremities, one should bear this statistic in mind. When examining your upper arms, be careful to distinguish lipedema fat vs regular fat. The skin over lipidemic fat is painful. Also, loose skin on the upper arms may be symptomatic of lipedema.
Run through the usual checklist with regard to distinguishing lipedema fat vs regular fat. And, if need be, arrange for a doctor’s consultation. Remember, with respect to lipedema, it is important to act quickly to correctly diagnose the condition. This is because, although there is no known cure for it, there are ways of managing it. When left unmanaged, serious conditions like lymphedema can result. Take note that in lipedema, fat deposition comes together with stasis of blood and lymphatic fluid. There is a relationship between adipose tissue and the lymphatic system.
Lipedema fat vs regular fat – Lipedema treatment
This treatment is mostly in the way of management but can be very effective in easing the paths of everyday life. Firstly, the control of normal fat should be engaged with. A nutritious lipedema diet, exercise, and physiotherapy are the vital elements of this control. These on their own could prevent or slow the progression of the disease, so making life much more livable. Massage is sometimes used on affected areas, but there is little or no evidence that this helps.
Pain reduction medicines can assist living with lipedema very much. These should be taken in advised quantities. Another underrated factor in lipedema treatment is proper patient education. All patients should be explained the nature of the condition and what kinds of outcomes to expect. Patients should be aware of what physical symptoms to expect, but also of the psychological difficulties that usually accompany the condition. They should be told that it would be normal to seek psychological assistance in dealing with lipedema.
Obesity does not cause lipedema, but more than half of lipedema patients are overweight. If untreated, obesity can cause deterioration of the condition. Lipedema weight loss success is your number one goal. The general aim is to maintain an active lifestyle and to improve fitness and strength. Certainly, consult with a recommended lipedema specialist, but be fairly certain of her qualifications.
You might want to buy compression stockings, as these help with pain and assist with walking. They keep fluid at bay and encourage sluggish lymphatic flow. Don’t be quick to neglect this and remember there is a big difference between lipedema fat vs regular fat. The means you use of managing this kind of fat are simply different from what you may be used to. Be willing to learn about what best fulfills patients’ needs. Even if you don’t need every technique right now, you might be interested in them in the future.
The next commonly employed technique for managing the condition is liposuction. There is no obligation, of course, upon you to use this method. Indeed, some physicians advise against it due to the risk of secondary lymphedema. However, surgery can sometimes improve the contour and size of fatty tissue, with good overall results. Consider the following factors which might be improved through the use of surgery: functionality, pain, swelling, physical appearance, and life quality. Oftentimes, multiple procedures are necessary, so be prepared for this. Perhaps you’d like to take a look at images of lipedema before and after surgery.
One thing significant to note is that recent studies have shown that there are lasting benefits that come from liposuction procedures. Even after several years, patients who underwent surgery report improvements in spontaneous pain, pressure sensitivity, edema, and movement restriction. In addition, patients’ self-assessments of cosmetic results were persistently positive. The need for ongoing conservative therapies remained comparatively low. This finding should be emphasized. Another thing research has uncovered is that better results come from earlier treatments.
At the same time, remember that there is no proven relationship between the quantity of adipose tissue removed and improvement in lipedema. Also, bear in mind that when evaluating successful therapies, professionals could not find a correlation between this success, on the one hand, and age, duration of disease, or time length of conservative therapies on the other.
Buttocks and thigh lifts are considered cosmetic and not medically necessary unless the fat severely impairs normal functioning. With regard to all liposuction techniques, remember the distinction between cosmetic and medically necessary procedures. Of course, cosmetic appearance does sometimes constitute a kind of necessity, but this is different from a medical necessity. One guideline is that when excess fat and skin interfere with normal daily functioning, surgery should be considered.
On investigation, you will likely discover what is out there in terms of a new treatment for lipedema. Don’t be quick to believe in just any new method of lipedema treatment that is on the market. This is still a field in which most physicians are still learning. You might learn about SAL (Suction-Assisted Liposuction, PAL (Power-Assisted Liposuction, and WAL (Water-Assisted Liposuction). Discover and learn, but don’t do anything until you have carefully considered things and consulted with experts. Do not be swept away by a physician’s promises of quick and miraculous results. At the moment, it seems, we do not know of any quick and miraculous treatment.
Explore the benefits of moisturizing with emollients. This could only help, it would seem. And when you hear of the term MLD, know that it refers to Manual Lymphatic Drainage. This is, literally, a hands-on method of opening the lymphatic channels. You might prefer to approach the challenge with less drastic measures like these.
We have to all accept that living with the condition is a process that needs to be understood and borne with. There is no single expert in the field at this time. We are all learning about it. Be patient with yourself and take it slowly. Make it your purpose to keep yourself healthy and encouraged. Do not be weighed down by the judgments that come associated with obesity in our imperfect society. And don’t forget that there is a world of difference, in any case, between lipedema vs. regular fat. The sight of lipedema fat legs draws a reaction, oftentimes, which is totally misguided. This has nothing whatsoever to do with overeating.
All kinds of fat should be met with improved diet and exercise. Obesity is itself a big health risk. One-third of American adults over the age of 20 are overweight. One-third are obese and more than 5% are extremely obese. Obesity in schoolchildren has tripled over the past thirty years. Our lifestyles and eating habits need to change. It is vital we do not sink into a sedentary lifestyle and fast-food habits. These are dangers in their own rights and exacerbate other conditions. Therefore, although we should be careful to distinguish lipedema fat vs regular fat, all fat should be viewed as a health risk.