Lip(o)edema is a painful chronically progressive condition in which an abnormal type of fat accumulates in a specific part of the body; mostly the legs and buttocks. This fat is sometimes accompanied by fluid swelling then creating lipo-lymphedema and other changes.
Facts about Lip(o)edema:
• it can be inherited
• it develops gradually during puberty
• it causes tenderness and bruising to the skin
• it can lead to immobility
• it is often misdiagnosed for obesity
• it worsens with trauma
• it is suspected that female hormones play a role
• it is not affected by diet and/or exercise
Lymphedema is defined as a condition where the extremities become swollen with fluid as a result of damage to the lymphatic system.
Symptoms of Lymphedema:
1. Swelling in arms and/or legs
2. Feeling heaviness or tightness in affected limb.
3. Difficulty fitting clothes, shoes and jewelry
4. Restricted range of motion
5. Recurring infections
6. Hardening and thickening of the skin (fibrosis)
There are no known cures for either lip(o)edema or lymphedema. However, there are treatments designed to help improve a person's quality of life which manages and maintains the symptoms.
1. Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy with compression wraps.
2. Compression garments (stockings)
3. Compression pumps
Lippy fat resembles pebbled-like clusters which can be seen very clearly once the skin is pinched.
It can be very difficult identifying if a person has lip(o)edema, hence why many woman are often misdiagnosed. If you suspect you or someone you know may have this disease, it is recommended that you see a doctor that specializes in vascular medicine.
Dealing with a dreadful life changing condition can be a lot for anyone to handle emotionally. This is why it is not uncommon for a person dealing with lipo-lymphedema to suffer with depression however, you don't have to deal with things on your own. Seek out support groups in your community or online; and finding a therapist can also help!