THE LINK BETWEEN LIPEDEMA AND FIBROMYALGIA
If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia it might be lipedema
WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA?
Over five million people in the United States are affected by fibromyalgia, making it one of the most common chronic pain conditions in the country. The most common side effect of this disorder is joint pain, but it can also cause chronic fatigue, memory loss, mood swings, and insufficient sleep. Despite the prevalence of the condition, it can be incredibly challenging to diagnose. In fact, because of the similarities in symptoms, many doctors often misdiagnose lipedema as fibromyalgia and inadvertently put their patients on the incorrect treatment plan, which only prolongs their discomfort.
Dr. Jaime Schwartz and Dr. Karen Herbst, along with the rest of the highly trained staff at Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, CA are experts in identifying the signs and symptoms of lipedema, allowing them to quickly get you on the correct path to treatment. And while we see many patients who have been misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia, it is possible for a patient to suffer from both conditions simultaneously. Although we don’t treat fibromyalgia, we can refer you to a specialist who does.
If you think your painful symptoms may be lipedema contact us today for a consultation!
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF FIBROMYALGIA VS. LIPEDEMA?
Signs of fibromyalgia can vary from case to case but usually include one or more of the following:
- Chronic fatigue: Even after long hours of sleep, many patients still find themselves tired due to pain or sleep apnea.
- Lack of focus: Patients can experience difficulty focusing and concentrating on everyday tasks due to distractions from their pain or fatigue.
- Widespread pain: Related pain can last around three months and exist on both sides of the body.
On the other hand, lipedema can cause many of these same side effects, though the root of the problem is completely different. Lipedema induces irregular deposits of fat in the legs, which can spread to the upper body if the disorder is left untreated. These pockets of fat can lead to fatigue and pain that could possibly be mischaracterized as fibromyalgia.
Although both conditions have similar symptoms, there are key differences that may help you get an accurate diagnosis.
Accompanied by swelling, easy bruising, increased pressure sensitivity, and localized
Dull, achy, and widespread
Present in most cases
Sleeping for long periods of time, sleep disrupted by pain, often accompanied by sleep disorders
Brain fog caused by inflammation
Inability to stay focused
Symmetric swelling in legs, affected areas are sensitive to the touch and “spongy” in texture, increased swelling throughout the day
Face or jaw pain, headaches or migraines, digestive issues including diarrhea or constipation, tingling or numbness in extremities
CAUSES AND DIAGNOSIS
While the causes of both fibromyalgia and lipedema are unknown, research has shown that there may be several causes for the conditions, such as genetics, infections, hormonal changes, and physical or emotional trauma. Additionally, several groups of people have proven to be more likely to develop fibromyalgia or lipedema, including females and those diagnosed with lupus or arthritis. To eliminate any other possible diagnoses, a blood test is usually administered before it can be certain.
WHAT ARE MY TREATMENT OPTIONS?
If you are given an official diagnosis of fibromyalgia and would like to receive a second opinion based on your symptoms, we recommend consulting with one of our expert providers, Dr. Jaime Schwartz or Dr. Karen Herbst.
If your diagnosis is correct and you do have fibromyalgia, we will refer you to a specialist who will likely recommend a combination of medication and physical/occupational therapy. However, some patients may require other alternatives, including acupuncture, meditation, and lifestyle changes. As fibromyalgia is often related to stress, these treatments can help to relax the mind and hopefully alleviate any pain or soreness.
Alternatively, treatment for lipedema can be a bit more complex as each treatment plan is customized based on the patient’s unique symptoms and the stage of the disorder. While there is no single treatment that can effectively cure lipedema, surgical intervention is the gold-standard treatment and Dr. Jaime Schwartz has developed exclusive techniques that deliver life-changing results. Through surgical treatment plans performed in phases, combined with proper exercise, diet, emotional support, and management of co-existing health problems, Total Lipedema Care will be able to get you back on the right track.