Lipedema is a medical condition that causes an abnormal accumulation of fat in the adipose tissues. This buildup of subcutaneous fat underneath the skin is generally seen in the lower extremities of the hips, thighs, and legs (not affecting the feet). Lipedema is a disorder that is rarely seen in males and, according to medical studies, is a progressive disease that women inherit from female family members. Some lipidemic women remain confused and frustrated about this condition, until the later stages when abnormal fat accumulation necessitates medical intervention.
Seeking a lipedema specialist like Dr. Jaime Schwartz in Beverly Hills, CA, who is also a renowned board-certified plastic surgeon, can help women find answers, discover treatment options, and get the emotional support they deserve. Here is a breakdown of some rare conditions that can evolve from fat accumulation disorders like lipedema and what you may need to know.
Do I have a weight problem or lipedema?
Women with lipedema and overweight women share a common issue of fighting the numbers on the scale. Lipedema and obesity traits share various genetic tracers and affect the lymphatic system as patients continue to gain weight. The most significant difference is that obese fat is treatable with diet and exercise. Fat accumulation due to lipedema, in the lower extremities or upper arms, is unaffected by such factors and only worsens if left untreated. Lipedema is a condition that is erroneously mistaken as a problem with obesity, which is why finding a lipedema specialist like Dr. Schwartz is imperative to get properly diagnosed and start getting help.
How do lipomas develop?
Lipedema can negatively impact a patient’s quality of life. For years, this disease has affected millions of women and left many with no viable treatment options. Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills was founded by Dr. Schwartz to give women the resources and treatment options needed when living with this disease. In some cases, fat accumulation with lipedema can cause the development of lipomas. Lipomas are soft-tissue tumors (noncancerous) that appear underneath the skin due to an overgrowth of fat cells. Lipomas growths can be found throughout the body, become painful, and multiply developing into familial multiple lipomatosis (FML) if left untreated.
What is familial multiple lipomatosis?
When several lipoma growths are found in one area, this genetic disorder is called familial multiple lipomatosis or FML. Lipomas are growths of fat intertwined within fibers and tissues beneath the skin. Even though considered benign tumors, these lipoma clusters or groups must be properly diagnosed and examined by a medical professional. Lipomas are generally easy to identify, and treatment intervention can help manage these growths. Board-certified plastic surgeon and fat disorder specialist Dr. Schwartz can examine, diagnose, and give patients treatment options to combat lipomas and stop them from progressing into a more severe condition.
What is adiposis dolorosa or Dercum’s disease?
If developing lipomas are left untreated, these growths can become painful. Dercum’s disease, also known as DD, is a rare disorder where lipoma growths in the subcutaneous tissue become quite severe. As lipoma growths or clusters (FML) begin to press on nearby nerves, patients start to experience pain that worsens with physical activity. Unlike lipedema, Dercum’s disease can cause patients to experience swelling in their feet and hands. Additional symptoms of Dercum’s includes fatigue, joint stiffness, headaches, tendency to bruise easily, and lack of mental clarity. Dercum’s disease research has shown that patients have bouts of memory problems, irritability, struggle with depression, and lack of concentration. The exact cause of this genetic disorder for women is also unknown, but recent studies have shown that it appears to be more in line with an autoimmune disease.
Differentiating between Dercum’s disease and lipedema
Women with both conditions display similar characteristics of fat accumulation in the subcutaneous tissue. Patients with Dercum’s disease tend to struggle with more severe pain associated with lipomas and have more of a medical issue with Type 2 diabetes. Patients also experience more side effects of migraines, fibromyalgia, and shortness of breath when compared to lipidemic patients. Women with lipedema seem to have a higher body mass index (BMI) and denser fatty tissue accumulation in common target areas when compared to Dercum’s disease.
What is the best treatment for lipomas?
When lipomas are small, they typically are not painful, and most patients do not need to seek treatment intervention. However, if patients feel insecure about visible lipomas or experience growths getting larger or painful, then an expert and plastic surgeon like Dr. Schwartz can provide treatment options.
- Liposuction – can reduce congestion in certain areas and remove lipomas or clusters of lipomas (FML)
- Surgical removal – lipomas can be surgically removed
- Steroid injections – can help shrink lipomas or groups of lipomas (FML) to provide relief
Dr. Jaime Schwartz and the trained staff at Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, CA are available to help patients seeking guidance, treatment options, and emotional support if they are concerned about such medical conditions. With continued research and proactive specialists like Dr. Schwartz diligently working on these types of medical disorders, patients today have more support and treatment options than women in the past. If you are concerned about Dercum’s disease, lipomas, or lipedema, then we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schwartz at Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills today.