What is Lipedema?
Lipedema is a disorder of adipose tissue that occurs almost exclusively in women; it has also been called ‘painful fat syndrome’. Typically there is abnormal bilateral and symmetrical swelling of the legs and hips that extends down towards the ankles where the fat forms a ring just above the ankle. This swelling is due to accumulations of fat and fluid in the tissues under the skin.
Fatty bulges can be seen on the outer surfaces of the thighs and sometimes the upper arms are affected as well. Interestingly enough, the swelling often extends from the waist down, almost in a distinct line toward the ankles, with the feet remaining unaffected.
This disorder can be inherited; most cases the onset begins to develop during puberty, peri-menopause or pregnancy. It may worsen due to trauma, such as surgery. Lipedema has been seen in women of all sizes.
It has been said that conservative methods can limit the effects of Lipedema, through careful weight management, if diagnosed early enough, as well as compression and manual lymphatic drainage massage.