Lipedema is a chronic, painful condition that generally targets women. This lymphatic disease is thought to be driven by a woman’s fluctuating hormones. Medical experts and Lipedema specialists are still trying to uncover the mystery around this often times genetic, and in some cases, debilitating disorder in order to find more answers for those living with this condition. Located in Beverly Hills, Total Lipedema Care is dedicated to helping patients with this disease. Lipedema specialist and board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz has dedicated an entire section of his private surgical practice to helping patients who suffer from this disease. A cure is not yet known but there are some studied facts that have been proven to give women relief from their Lipedema symptoms.
A brief overview about Lipedema
Lipedema is a disease involving an abnormal buildup of fatty tissue in certain target areas. This condition affects not only women in the Beverly Hills area, but over 17 million women throughout the country. Lipedema can result in painful swelling, lymphatic problems, and in some cases, immobility. It typically is seen primarily in women, and studies show that symptoms start to occur for most women in their mid to late 30s. Often misdiagnosed as problems with weight gain, obesity, or an unhealthy lifestyle, Lipedema is a treatable condition and early detection is key.
Lipedema is a buildup of abnormal amounts of fatty tissue that mainly occurs in a woman’s lower extremities. Common target areas are the hips, thighs, or calves. In some cases, patients can also show symptoms of Lipedema in their upper arms. The fatty tissue is not “normal cellulite” but looks marble-like in texture or “squishy” to the touch when in the early stages. When Lipedema progresses to later stages, the target areas become hardened and extremely uncomfortable due to inflammation or swelling.
5 things patients can do to help
Every year, women in Beverly Hills and across the U.S. continue to suffer in silence with this painful condition. This medical condition looks similar to other lifestyle issues like a poor diet or lack of exercise, but it is more than that for those with Lipedema. As the disease progresses, no amount of diet or exercise will change the fat deposits accumulating in target areas, so symptoms and flare-ups get worse. Patients become more immobile and the feeling of isolation increases. So what can a patient do to alleviate any flare-ups or symptoms of Lipedema?
1. Healthy diet
One of the main triggers for Lipedema flare-ups, especially when it comes to inflammation, seems to be driven by dietary consumption. New research shows women who ate a low glycemic diet that was high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy proteins reduced their swelling or inflammatory symptoms. Too often, women with Lipedema try to reduce their food intake in order to lose weight or change the aesthetic appearance of those target areas which only leads to emotional eating or worse, an eating disorder. Keeping a consistent diet of healthy choices benefits patients to have a more balanced lifestyle, maintain a healthy weight, and helps alleviate flare-ups.
2. Diet restrictions
Along the lines of a well-balanced diet, women dealing with Lipedema symptoms should also avoid certain foods that are high in sodium or highly processed. Processed foods usually contain artificial preservatives, fake sweeteners (sugar), and other fillers. Processed, prepackaged, or fast food should be avoided in order to reduce sodium intake and eliminate flare-ups. A common symptom with Lipedema is swelling in the legs and joints, and inflammation seems to be enhanced if patients eat processed foods or foods high in sodium. Studies also showed that women struggling with Lipedema had less inflammation when they reduced their alcohol intake.
3. Avoid additional weight gain
A well-planned diet can help avoid putting on unnecessary weight. Studies show that women with Lipedema who maintained a consistent weight were less likely to see not only flare-ups in symptoms but also a slow down in the progression of the disease. Additional weight gain compromises the lymphatic system which is the main trigger for painful swelling and inflammation. Additional weight gain also leads to inhibiting mobility, poor circulation, and an increase in the occurrence of Lipedema discomfort. Patients who eat a consistently well-planned diet along with staying active or continuing to exercise avoid putting on additional weight which overall benefits their Lipedema condition.
4. Staying active
Women who suffer from Lipedema know the swelling and inflammation can be very painful, especially for those in the later stages of the disease. As fatty tissue accumulates, it only becomes heavier and more restricting to those patients trying to stay active. For many, when mobility decreases so does blood circulation which can have a resounding effect on the lymphatic system. Patients then deal with more swelling and painful flare-ups. Lipedema patients need to find alternative ways to stay active. Suggested activities include light walking at least three times a week for 45 minutes or finding an aquatic center that offers water aerobics or water therapy sessions. Any activity that keeps a patient moving daily will only help their overall quality of life living with Lipedema.
5. Getting help and treatment options
Since Lipedema is a progressive disease, symptoms and flare-ups only worsen as patients evolve into different stages. Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills is dedicated to helping women combat this painful disease and give them answers on how to live with it. An early diagnosis can help women get treatment options to slow down the progression while giving women a better quality of life. Finding a Lipedema specialist like Dr. Schwartz can give patients treatment solutions, cosmetic options, and emotional support so patients know they are not alone. Painful flare-ups and symptoms can be managed with the right intervention and a knowledgeable Lipedema specialist.
Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills focuses on giving patients the tools they need to fight this disease. If you are concerned you may have Lipedema, contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schwartz and get the help you need.