O lipedema It was standardized as a disease in the year 2022, but even today it is a problem little known by the population and even by doctors, which hinders diagnosis and treatment.
“As until recently lipedema was not considered a disease, scientific literature about its mechanisms is still very scarce. In this way, the medical community itself is still becoming aware of the disease and training itself for treatment”, explains the vascular surgeon Dr. Aline Lamaitamember of the Brazilian Society of Angiology and Vascular Surgery.
According to the doctor, patients with lipedema can often be described as “falsely thin”, as they tend to present a thinner appearance in the upper body compared to the legs, which are disproportionately thicker. “In some cases, it is believed that this is the family pattern, as lipedema can actually affect several women in the same family, that is, it is not thought that it could be a health problem”, he highlights.
Furthermore, the lipedema can be easily confused with other conditions, such as obesity and cellulite, further delaying diagnosis and contributing to the progression of the condition. To help in these situations, the specialist listed the main signs of lipedema. Check out:
Disproportionate fat accumulation
Lipedema is characterized by accumulation of fatty tissue with a disproportionate increase in the size of the limbs. The most affected areas are the thighs, culottes, hips and legs, but it can also occasionally affect the arms.
“It is important to remember that this disease is always symmetrical and that overweight people should pay special attention to it, as it can be difficult to notice the increase in the lower limbs”, he warns.
Fat that is difficult to eliminate
According to Dr. Aline, lipedema causes a accumulation of fat that is difficult to eliminate, even adopting habits such as diets and physical activity. “This often causes great frustration in patients,” she says.
Pain on touch
A pain on touch is one of the main signs of lipedema “It is not uncommon for people with lipedema to be surprised when undergoing lymphatic drainage or a relaxing massage, as the experience, which should be pleasant, is usually accompanied by pain and sensitivity to touch”, he states. Increased frequency of bruises spontaneous It is greater tendency to retain liquid are other symptoms of the disease.
Presence of nodules
Lipedema can also trigger visible nodules on the skincausing the affected region to have a appearance similar to cellulite. “Also pay attention to the evolution of these nodules: if they grow, the size of the legs increases and the skin begins to fold, as if it were sagging, it is probably lipedema.”
Individuals who present any of the risk factors for the problem should pay extra attention to the signs. “Lipedema is a problem that essentially affects women. It is estimated that 10% of women suffer from the problem. Furthermore, it is a genetic disease and it commonly affects several people in the same family”, says the doctor.
Dr. Aline also reveals that there is a strong correlation between hormonal disorders and the progression of the disease. For this reason, during periods such as puberty, use of contraceptives, pregnancy and menopause, lipedema may worsen,
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL HELP?
The vascular surgeon points out that it is necessary See a doctor if you notice the presence of any of these signs and, if you suspect the disease, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion.
“Today, there are already some guidelines that help doctors in the diagnosis, but, as it is a multidisciplinary treatment, It is necessary for the doctor to dedicate himself to studying the problem and understand the various areas of knowledge necessary to guide patients appropriately.”
Lipedema consists of a chronic disease, that is, without cure. However, by adopting appropriate care, it is possible to control symptoms, alleviate discomfort and prevent its progression. “A good lipedema treatment starts with vascular surgeonbut monitoring with a nutritionist, physiotherapist and, eventually, orthopedists and plastic surgeons is also essential.”
The most recommended is make lifestyle changes, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet and regularly practicing physical exercise. “But other measures must be adopted, such as compression socks, medicines and even the performing surgical procedures for the removal of diseased fatty tissue, such as liposuction”, he concludes.