Lipedema affects up to 11% of women. This disease is almost exclusive to women and affects about 17 million people in America.
It was first identified in the United States in 1940 at the Mayo Clinic. Awareness and knowledge of Lipedema continues to grow as more cases are discovered.
Catherine Seo, director and producer of the documentary, The Disease They Call FAT, has been through it all. When she hit menopause, despite continuing the strict diet that had previously led to a 140-pound weight loss, she began to gain weight again.
She encountered extreme anti-fat bias from doctors, many of whom believed that her weight gain was due to personal choices. Due to an ongoing misdiagnosis that led her to have several surgeries, Catherine developed lymphedema, a condition that causes severe fluid retention due to lymphatic impairment.
You can read more about Catherine’s journey on her website, click here.
If your legs and/or upper arms are bigger than the rest of your body, it could be lipedema. If your legs are sensitive to touch, it could be lipedema.
Pain, swelling, immobility, and lymphatic disturbances are consequences of lipedema, a disease involving an abnormal fat deposition. Lipedema is often misdiagnosed and mistaken for obesity.
Proper diagnosis is important, especially with increasing rates of obesity and anti-fat bias in healthcare. Because lipedema is often not properly diagnosed and is usually dismissed as obesity, patients with this disease also suffer from a decrease in quality of life, both emotionally and physically.
Lipedema Birmingham AL: What Causes Lipedema?
The cause of this disease is unknown. Hormones may play a role, as lipedema almost exclusively affects women.
Further evidence suggesting hormonal effect is that lipedema either begins or gets worse after puberty, during pregnancy, after gynecologic surgery, and around the time of menopause. Lipedema could also be genetic.
This disorder involves the adipose tissue and causes the buttocks, legs and/or arms to accumulate abnormal fatty tissue. In other words, fat is deposited unevenly under the skin. The feet are spared. For some, it could appear to be merely a cosmetic issue.
Far from being a cosmetic issue, lip edema causes pain, discomfort, swelling, disfigurement, and functional impairment.
Lipedema Birmingham AL: Could You Have Lipedema?
Even if you’ve been told you are simply obese, you could have lipedema. It might appear to be simple weight gain even in healthy individuals.
As lipedema progresses, it becomes more obvious that it is not just weight gain. If your upper body is smaller and your lower body contains a disproportionate amount of fat, this could be the first sign. This fat distribution will not usually include the feet. These fat deposits are extremely resistant to weight loss, including dieting and bariatric surgery.
Lipedema can become worse over time if left untreated. It is important to reach out if you believe that you could have this disease.
If you know you have Lipedema or you identify with a symptom(s) don’t delay, contact Alabama Vascular & Lymphatic Specialists today.
Your life may depend on it.
We provide the most comprehensive, progressive, and personal care available for Lymphatic diseases, including Lipedema, in the Birmingham, Alabama area.
During your visit our specialist(s) will review your medical history and develop a treatment plan to get you on the path to better health.