What is lipoedema?


Lipoedema is a chronic, progressive inflammatory disease, that in some case may become disabling.It is an abnormal build-up of fat beneath the skin in the buttocks, hips or lower limbs. This fat accumulation is symmetrical and bilateral. Lipoedema has also been shown to affect the arms, but hands and feet are not involved.

How to differentiate lipoedema from obesity?

While a weight or fat mass increase due to nutrition facts or lack of movement involves the whole body, lipoedema affects only some parts of the body.
This is due to an alteration of the adipose tissue cells, i.e. adipocytes, generated by systemic inflammation. The increase in fat accumulation occurs quickly and suddenly, therefore not due to the patient’s diet.

How to recognise lipoedema?

Here below there is a short list of the most common symptoms:

  • heaviness feeling in the affected areas.
  • “orange peel skin” appearance.
  • localized tingling.
  • painful sensation, if you apply pressure on the areas affected of the fat deposit.
  • formation of spontaneous bruises.

Lipedema progresses through these three stages.

Stage I: the symptomatology is mild. Skin appears healthy and is not discoloured. Pads of fat can appear under the skin and are to be recognised if pressure is applied.

Stage II: The skin is uneven in appearance, and the “orange peel skin” is visible. Hematoma formation may occur, and the patient feels localized pain sensation. Fatty nodes can be felt easily and are usually as big as a walnut or even as an apple.

Stage III: The nodes are bigger, and the skin is no more elastic in the affected areas. Also at this stage, bruising, difficulty in walking, and tingling are present. In addition to these symptoms, the accumulation of fat and the consequent limb inflammation can lead to pathologies such as knee arthritis, lymph stagnation and fibrosis of the subcutaneous fat.

For this reason, it is always important to make the right diagnosis of the pathology in order to be able to intervene immediately.

How is lipoedema diagnosed?

There are no specific diagnostic examinations to confirm the lipoedema presence. For this reason the diagnosis of a lipoedema is always complicated. An expert team will be able to recognise the symptoms and will provide perform ultrasound examinations and magnetic resonance to study the adipose tissue.

Was to do for lipoedema?

An early diagnosis of lipoedema can favour the adoption of therapies in order to alleviate the symptoms of the pathology: dedicated physical exercises and physiotherapy, surgical treatment (if necessary), nutritional plan, correct hygiene and psychological treatments.
Furthermore, the doctor may prescribe the use of garments with graduated compression. In particular, the Be You Tonic Curvy leggings are micro-massaging and exert the right graduated compression to stimulate venous and lymphatic return.

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