Fall has arrived and with the cold weather looming you may be wondering what you can eat that can be both fulfilling and anti-inflammatory for your lipedema. It’s easy to learn what you should and shouldn’t eat but sometimes hard to stick to it without the background knowledge of why. Knowing the why can help you make the best decisions for yourself and maybe incorporate some things that you may not have thought of before.   

Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

It is recommended to follow the RAD diet (or Rare Adipose Disorder diet). The RAD diet is basically a modified Mediterranean diet that helps maintain a low glycemic index. The goal is to keep your insulin levels low by avoiding refined or processed starches and sugars that are found in pasta, rice, bread, corn, and potatoes. Avoiding processed carbs and processed food, in general, will help keep your inflammation at bay and in turn reduce your lipedema symptoms. Along with reducing starches, avoiding gluten(found in wheat, rye, and barley) all together may be necessary to limit flare-ups. 

For a healthy lipedema meal plan, you will want a nutrition plan that is high in omega 3’s. Mainstream health organizations recommend a minimum of 250-300 mg of omega-3s per day, the FDA recommends not to exceed 3000 mg of omega-3, but European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says up to 5000 mg of omega-3s per day is safe. 

Why Are Omega-3s so Important if You Have Lipedema 

Omega-3s reduce the production of some substances (eicosanoids and cytokines) released during an inflammatory response in the body, reducing inflammation will help reduce lipedema flare-ups. Some added bonuses of increasing your omega-3 consumption are; it may help fight auto-immune diseases, decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve eye health, promote brain health during pregnancy, improve risk factors of heart disease, reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome, improve mental disorders, fight age-related mental decline, reduce fat in your liver, improve bone and joint health, alleviate menstrual pain, and improve sleep. 

Obviously incorporating more omega-3s into your diet will reduce inflammation and other symptoms that may arise from lipedema but what foods and supplements are best? Fish is high in omega-3s such as Mackerel (4,107mg per serving), salmon (4,123 mg per serving), herring (946mg per serving), oysters (370mg per serving-about 6 raw oysters), sardines(2,205mg per serving), anchovies(951 mg per serving), caviar(1,086 mg per serving). Now if you’re not crazy about fish, there are other options, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans all have a similar amount of omega-3s per serving to their fish counterparts. 

**It should be noted that soybeans are high in omega-6s which can cause inflammation so you may want to leave the soybeans out of your diet.

Along with omega-3s, there should be a heavy focus on fiber in your diet plan. It is recommended that men get 38 grams of fiber a day and women 25 grams of fiber per day. Fiber can be split into soluble fiber(metabolized by good bacteria in the gut, water-soluble) and insoluble fiber(does not dissolve in water). Fiber feeds the good gut bacteria and works with our bodies in symbiosis by breaking down what we cannot on our own. By consuming fiber, we are feeding our gut bacteria “prebiotics” which the bacteria break down to produce necessary nutrients, short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids feed the cells in the colon which can reduce gut inflammation. Fiber is also a necessary element to help you feel full and stay full longer! Also, it slows down digestion by absorbing water and in turn, increases the number of vitamins and nutrients the body can absorb. 

Omega-3s and fiber are incredibly important to reduce lipedema inflammation but what does that mean for what you should eat? Think of the standard food pyramid, instead of the high consumption of grains, it’s recommended to consume high levels of low-carb vegetables, herbs, and spices, such as cabbage, eggplant, carrots, cauliflower, Bok choy, peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, asparagus, etc. Here are some herbs for an extra boost of anti-inflammatory action: ginger, garlic, turmeric(with black pepper for absorption), cardamom, green tea, rosemary, and cinnamon. 

Next on the pyramid, you should consume a smaller amount of healthy fats like nuts- Peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, avocados, coconut oil, and olive oil. Brazil nuts in particular have a large amount of selenium, a necessary nutrient that helps reduce the painful swelling that lipedema causes. It should be noted that only two brazil nuts a day can make a difference!

The next part of our pyramid is healthy protein. We’ve touched on a few fish for your omega-3s but you could also include eggs, chicken, turkey, tofu, shrimp, and tuna. Protein is another important component to help you feel full and stay full longer which helps reduce cravings. 

Lastly, we have lower-carb fruits, beans and legumes, and moderate-carb vegetables. Some lower-carb fruits include berries, melons, kiwis, mangos, and raisins. It is best to try to eat the rainbow! Each color has different nutrients and antioxidants necessary for a long-term healthy body and it’s much easier to track the colors you’re eating versus every nutrient each fruit/vegetable has in it. 

Patients with lipedema often have low levels of vitamin D3 so supplementing with four times the daily recommended dose of vitamin D is helpful along with Diosmin, and selenium if you are not able to eat brazil nuts. Fish and krill oil are great supplements to take on days you are not consuming high amounts of omega-3s

Now that we’ve covered food, what else can you do to keep lipedema symptoms aways?  There are multiple ways to keep your lymphatic fluids flowing such as yoga, dry brushing, massage, and compression garments. 

Yoga & Deep Breathing

Yoga is all around great for your whole body by lengthening, strengthening, and deep breathing, it can improve your health and mental wellbeing. Lymphatic yoga is even better for lipedema! Lymphatic Yoga can help move the stagnant fluid in the lymph system through the body and to the heart. Dynamic yoga such as sun salutations is great because it keeps you moving from one pose to another and encourages the movement of fluids. Any inversion poses and backbends will help fight gravity that keeps fluids in the lower part of your body from moving to the upper parts. Twists help with stimulating organs and stretching the spine. 

The lymphatic system lies just below the surface of the skin so dry brushing has been shown to stimulate the lymph system and help move venous blood. Dry brushing should be done with long firm strokes towards the heart. Start from your feet to the legs and groin and then hand to your armpits. An added bonus is your skin will be exfoliated and feel amazing! 

Massage & Deep Breathing

Lymphatic massage is a great way to reduce swelling and improve lymphatic circulation. You can go to a professional massage therapist who specializes in lymphatic massage or you can learn how to do it on yourself at home! When performing these techniques you should make sure you are relaxed, don’t perform this if it is too painful, and it should only affect your skin, so deep pressure is not needed.

Start by connecting to your deep breaths, slowly inhaling from your nose and out through the mouth. Try to make these breaths as long as possible with a pause between each breath. Like the dry brushing, you start from your feet and pull the skin up towards your heart with light pressure, so the skin stretches. Continue this all around the ankles, then calves and thighs. 

Compression

Last but not least, you can use compression garments! Luckily it will be getting colder so it won’t feel so hot and restricting to adding in an extra layer of clothes. It is best to use medical-grade garments because fluid flows from higher pressure to lower pressure and medical-grade compression garments have graduated compression. The compression at the lower part of the garment will force lymphatic fluid from the lower part of your body up through your body back towards your heart. Again, we’re fighting gravity so compression garments will need to be tighter for the legs versus your arms.

You Got This

Now you have all the options to keep your lipedema symptoms low over the winter months, from eating the rainbow to yoga, massage, and compression garments. It’s a difficult disease to battle but you’re not alone, and now you have a few extra tools that can help you along the way. Contact us today!

Before you start looking for more invasive treatments to help reduce the symptoms of your lipedema, there are a few tools you have right at home, and every little bit helps! Your nutrition plays a key factor in how and when your body experiences edema (swelling), and a large player in this experience is in response to the food you eat. Learn how to reduce lipedema swelling below!

The Rare Adipose Disorder Diet (AKA RAD Diet)

Dr. Wright recommends following a Rare Adipose Disorder (RAD) diet, a modification to a standard Mediterranean diet that helps you maintain a low glycemic index to limit the number of occurrences and levels your blood sugar spikes through the day. In order to do this, it is recommended that you avoid any refined or processed starches and sugars. These are usually found in pasta, rice, bread, corn, and potatoes. Avoiding processed food – especially processed carbohydrates – will keep your insulin levels low and provide you the best chance at limiting inflammation. 

lipedema swelling

Interestingly, Lipedema experts also report that avoiding starches alone will not prevent symptoms from flaring up. It is also recommended that individuals with lipedema may want to reduce their gluten intake as much as possible. Gluten is typically found in wheat, rye, and barley. Instead of gluten, make sure your diet focuses on foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and are also high in fiber to assist your body in burning fat and fighting inflammation.  Focus on colorful foods like nuts, beans, fish, and whole grains. 

Lipedema Diet: Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan

Need some recipe inspiration for how to follow the RAD diet plan and still enjoy whole, nutritious food? It’s easier than you think! Try the examples below, which use the following methods. 

lipedema swelling

Breakfast: Add something different to a slice of toasted, whole-wheat bread each day, so you’re following the plan but mixing it up enough that it doesn’t get boring! The following pairs well with a freshly toasted piece of bread: 

Lunch: Try keeping lunch to different versions of a salad. It’s easy to prep, light and fresh, and there are numerous versions of salads to make! 

Snack: Homemade trail mix is an easy on-the-go snack that also allows a wide variety of items to be included depending on what you’re craving. 

Any variety of the following meet the RAD Diet suggestions:

Dinner: 1 protein, 1 veggie, 1 grain or potato

Supplements for Fighting Lipedema Swelling

Another tool in your toolbox to help the fight against edema is ensuring you have a regular and robust vitamin supplement alongside the RAD diet. These vitamins and supplements can be found at your local drug store and are an inexpensive way to help. 

Vitamin D3: Lipedema patients are typically deficient in Vitamin D, an essential supplement that plays a critical role in your immune system. It also helps your bone, muscle, and nervous system health. It is recommended that lipedema patients who are deficient in Vitamin D take up to 4 times the Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA.

Selenium: A supplement that can aid with your daily metabolism is Selenium. It has been known to help reduce lipedema swelling that is often painful and continuous. While supplemental pills can be hard to find you can find them in brazil nuts; eating just 2 of these nuts per day should be enough to notice a difference.

Diosmin: Perhaps the most effective supplement to take is Diosmin, a bioflavonoid that is commonly found in citrus fruits. They can have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and lymph-tonic properties that will help with your symptoms of lipedema.

How to Tell Lipedema Apart from Regular Fat?

Lipedema fat is an abnormal accumulation of fat in specific areas – usually in the lower body, though fat accumulation is symmetrical, it’s painful and easily bruises. You can read more about the difference here. 

References:

1 Micke, O., Bruns, F., Schäfer, U., Kisters, K., Hesselmann, S., and Willich, N. (2000) Selenium in the treatment of acute and chronic lymphedema. Trace Elements and Electrolytes 17, 206-209 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12694822

2 Kasseroller, R. G., and Schrauzer, G. N. (2000) Treatment of secondary lymphedema of the arm with physical decongestive therapy and sodium selenite: a review. Am J Ther 7, 273-279 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11486162

3 [ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10667641] shows the effectiveness of Diosmin Diosmin significantly improved symptoms such as leg pain, heaviness, and cramps. Diosmin also improved leg edema or swelling and decreased leg circumference. Other studies have shown Diosmin improved venous ulcer healing, hemorrhoids, and lymphedema. [Citationhttp://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/16014984]

DiCorleto, P. (2014). Why you should pay attention to chronic inflammation. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/10/why-you-should-pay-attention-to-chronic-inflammation/

Doheny, K., & Chang, L. (2008). Anti-inflammatory Diet: Road to Good Health? Retrieved July 19, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/anti-inflammatory-diet-road-to-good-health?page=3

Erlich, S.D. (2015). Omega-3 fatty acids. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids

When dealing with the effects of lipedema, your body can also feel the repercussions of direct impact on your lymphatic and venous circulation system. Both systems together help the body create lymph. Venous disorders like venous hypertension and venous reflux impact these combined systems to create excess lymph production. Having an overwhelmed production can lead to overloaded lymphatic circulation. Both the venous system and our lymphatic circulation utilize passive contractions to clear this fluid from our limbs.

As a result, our team has put together some of the most important and most impactful information about Lipedema, how it can affect your veins, and how to get a proper diagnosis. Read it, re-read it, and share it with the women in your life. Some of the pain we’ve lived with for decades may actually have a life-changing solution! 

venous insufficiency

What is Lipedema?

Despite affecting an estimated 11% of women around the world, Lipedema is not yet widely known. Fat cells, (also referred to as adipose tissue) provide the human body with both cushioning and insulation. Lipedema affects the accumulation of these fat cells in the body, resulting in bulging, irregular fat in the affected areas. The legs are the most commonly affected area, but sometimes spreading occurs in the torso, and in many cases, excessive clustering of fat cells is noticed in the arms as well. Regardless of the affected area, the symptoms are equally debilitating, and unfortunately, these fat cells are equally resistant to both diet and exercise programs. 

Unlike Lymphedema or general obesity,  Lipedema has a tendency to affect both limbs equally and generally becomes more apparent over the course of time. Lipedema’s progressive nature makes getting a proper diagnosis and treatment imperative and extremely time-sensitive – as the disorder progresses so does the pain, immobility, and discomfort.

In addition to the characteristic disproportionate fat accumulation, there are specific physical signs and symptoms of Lipedema. Do any of the following Lipedema symptoms sound like something you regularly experience?

Lipedema Symptoms Checklist:

☑Tender skin that is sensitive to the touch, feels pressure when walking or climbing stairs, crossing your legs, or sitting for long periods of time.

☑Skin’s surface feels nodular and firm, like beans in a bean bag or rubber balls. 

☑Skin’s surface is uneven, with large bulges and valleys up and down. Areas that were traditionally thought of as cellulite are much more dramatic and bulging. 

☑Skin’s temperature is relatively cool.

☑Legs feel heavy and tired.

☑Swelling in the affected area (legs, arms), worsening during the day, and better at night after you’re able to elevate your limbs (such as laying in bed). 

☑Easy bruising.

☑Visible veins.

☑Disproportionate fat accumulation, not affected by calorie restriction. Think extreme “pear-shaped” body. 

☑Feet and hands are unaffected by weight gain or swelling. As a result, there’s often a “cuff” at the ankles or wrists.

Lymphatic Issues Occurring with Lipedema

Our lymphatic system has several key jobs to help our body function properly. First, it drains our body cells of any debris that needs to be removed. It also drains any excess fluid our tissues have built up. The lymphatic system also transports any clean fluid back to our blood that needs it. With such an important job for our body, it is critical to understand how lipedema can cause additional lymphatic issues. Individuals with lipedema will notice that their lymph fluids are not properly draining, causing a buildup in the legs. This fluid building can be painful and cause additional swelling.

venous insufficiency

Venous Issues Occurring with Lipedema

Our venous system is made up of deep venous pumps and veins located throughout the legs. These pumps when properly working pump 90% of the blood from the legs. The other 10% of the blood is pumped through a superficial venous system. While this system is typically less important than the deep venous pumps, they are at more risk when lipedema is involved. Blood flow may reverse and flow in the opposite direction; healthy vein valves ensure our blood is flowing in one direction for a healthy system.

Venous Insufficiency & Veno-Lipo-Lymphedema

The symptoms of Lipedema and venous insufficiency are similar. They both cause heaviness, tenderness, fatigue, and swelling. They often both have discoloration in the shins, easy bruising, and prominent veins. In more advanced cases of venous insufficiency, not only does venous lymphedema develop, but a secondary Veno- Lipo- Lymphedema develops. With the overwhelmed lymph circulation, the ability to clear fatty acids from the affected tissue is compromised and a secondary fat accumulation occurs. In many cases, the best way to differentiate between lipedema and venous insufficiency and veno- lipo-lymphedema is to have a specialized standing venous Doppler ultrasound to check for venous reflux.

venous insufficiency

Getting a Lipedema Diagnosis & Treating Vein Issues

Now that you’ve reviewed the signs and symptoms of Lipedema, determined that you identify with at least some of them, and you’ve familiarized yourself with other commonly related diagnoses, it’s time to find a Lipedema specialist and get tested! Each Lipedema doctor will have their own preferred method of diagnosing their patients and typically will include a physical exam, patient questionnaires, and then additional testing and ultrasounds to further support the physical exam. 

Below are the different tests you may experience during this time, and it’s important to keep them in mind as you select your doctor. Moving forward, thoroughness will be your best friend; we highly recommend “interviewing” different Lipedema experts to find someone you trust, someone who can provide at least some of these diagnostic tests, and someone who is well versed in treatment options.

Note: There is no single test to diagnose Lipedema. Tests, however, are important to rule out a related disorder.

Stemmer’s Sign Test

The Stemmer’s Sign is the inability to pinch the skin between the toes or fingers. As mentioned in our last section, Lipedema in advanced stages can be complicated by secondary Lymphedema and may have a stemmer’s sign. This test can help Lipedema experts determine if this is the case for you. 

Venous Doppler Ultrasound

A Venous Doppler Ultrasound is a very useful test for the diagnosis of Lipedema. Lipedema has many similarities to venous insufficiency (as explained above), so this can help rule out or confirm venous insufficiency.  The Venous Doppler Ultrasound can readily detect venous insufficiency if done properly and by having the patient stand while completing it. Unfortunately, most hospital vascular labs complete Venous Doppler Ultrasounds with the patient lying down, While this is the typical way to find Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), it is definitely not a successful method to detect venous insufficiency. A standing venous Doppler ultrasound is a painless, non-invasive, and inexpensive test that provides a lot of useful information about venous circulation. The Doppler ultrasound not only helps determine the presence of underlying venous problems, but it also gives critical information for managing Lipedema. If venous insufficiency is present, it is important that treatment is given as the resulting increased venous pressures can greatly aggravate Lipedema.

Lymphoscintigraphy

This is generally only used in complicated cases, where clinical diagnosis is not clear. This is a nuclear scan that assesses the lymph system. It may come back as normal in patients with Lipedema and may show the characteristic “corkscrew” changes with Lymphedema. In most cases of Lymphedema, lymphoscintigraphy shows delayed uptake. So lymphoscintigraphy can be very helpful to determine if and how significant a role lymphedema is playing in an individual’s symptoms, especially when there are widespread issues of swelling in the body. 

Treating Vein Issues

Vein insufficiency and other venous issues can cause your lipedema symptoms to worsen over time. Significant vein insufficiency can cause venous issues that are not superficial such as ulcers. If you are looking into surgical treatment for lipedema, you will need your vein issues to be treated first. Vein issues can cause problems during surgery if blood flow is not working correctly. It can also lead to poor wound healing after the procedure has been completed. The increased risk of blood clots is one factor any surgeon will want to avoid.

Life After Diagnosis

First – congratulations! We know the road to diagnosis is emotionally draining, physically painful, and it can feel lonely and discouraging. The time and research it takes to make it to this point are huge, and you should be proud of yourself and the courage it takes to be your own advocate. Our hope for all women with Lipedema, whether they are our patients or not, is that we can provide valuable tools and knowledge so that more women can make it to this point and take the next step in living a more mobile, healthy, and enjoyable life. 

venous insufficiency

After going through the diagnosis process and receiving a positive Lipedema diagnosis, most patients are relieved, overjoyed, and validated by their endless search. After years of living with the private struggle and knowledge that “something just isn’t right” in their body, putting a name to the issues is a huge win. And after an official diagnosis, there are many different treatment paths available to you! A treatment plan should be discussed and developed between you and your Lipedema doctor, but you can read more about the non-surgical and surgical options that we recommend to our patients. While these will always depend on specific cases and patient needs, they can give you an idea of what options may be available to you. Good luck! 

 

There’s nothing more satisfying and exciting for Dr. Wright and his team at Laser Lipo & Vein Center than celebrating patient wins! One of our favorite patients, Rita, spent her time in quarantine focused on getting through her lipedema surgeries, recovering safely at home, and both she and our team couldn’t be happier with her results! Rita’s experience is proof that Lipedema surgery can transform patient experiences as they walk through life (literally!) from pain and immobility to pain-free progress! 

lipedema surgery

Rita has undergone three Lipedema surgeries on her legs and has seen dramatically positive results. She’s continued to follow a generally healthy diet both before and after her surgeries but did not implement any form of diet changes, so these results are primarily the outcome of her lipedema surgeries! She’s gone from a size 24 to a size 14 in jean size, lost 30 pounds, and is now more easily active and mobile day-in and day-out. 

There are so many day-to-day activities that those without Lipedema wouldn’t think twice about, but patients with Lipedema struggle with and dread. Post-surgery, Rita has reported back to our office that after losing 10 pants sizes and removing the irregular lipedema fat in her lower body, she has no problems fitting into those frustrating chairs with arms on either side, she has enjoyed walking around the amusement park with her 10-year-old daughter without having to take breaks, and overall has enjoyed her active lifestyle, without the pain that used to accompany it! 
lipedema surgery

What is Lipedema?

Lipedema is a subcutaneous fat disease that primarily affects women. When we reference the “subcutaneous” tissue and fat, we’re referencing the layer of tissue directly under the skin. 

Shockingly, Lipedema affects an estimated 17 million women across the globe. This disease affects a huge number of women, the majority of whom are still walking through their world in a lot of physical and mental pain. Lipedema is a disease that leads to the excessive build-up of fat cells, primarily in the arms and legs. Women suffering from it often have “pockets” of fat on their limbs that appear disproportionate in comparison to the rest of their bodies. This disease causes an enlargement of the legs due to deposits of fat under the skin, and typically gets worse over time, making diagnosis and treatment essential.

It’s common for women with Lipedema to have a small upper body, while their lower body is disproportionately larger (kind of like an extreme pear-shaped body). Pockets of fat develop in the affected areas and appear to bulge in and out of the top layer of the skin. This is often mischaracterized as cellulite, rather than painful lipomas.

These pockets of Lipedema fat are accompanied by painful symptoms, such as excessive swelling, pain to the touch, numbness, and very easy bruising. If my dog jumped up on my legs, it was excruciating. Everyday occurrences that most people don’t think twice about, like accidentally bumping into a table or chair, can cause deep, painful bruises. 

lipedema surgery

As Lipedema progresses over time, these symptoms will continue to get worse as more Lipedema fat accumulates, and many women report that they are less and less mobile or active as time goes on. As a result, these women are stuck in a terrible cycle; they are less mobile, so they often gain weight, then it’s even more difficult and painful to be active, and the cycle goes on and on.

With Lipedema, we experience fat accumulation in specific areas, which may help indicate if your weight gain is normal or not. If you’re gaining pockets of fat that are out of proportion to other areas, this may be a tip-off that you have Lipedema.

While many women also see weight gain in their arms, it’s common that the following areas are greatly affected:

lipedema surgery

What Causes Lipedema?

We know that Lipedema is inherited in about 60% of women, and early studies show a genetic component is definitely at play (read more about that here!) and is the result of a malfunction of the Lymphatic System. The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. This system transports lymph fluid throughout the body and is important for maintaining a healthy immune system. This disease affects the lymphatic system’s tiny vessels (microvessels) that cause a build-up of excess fluid around the body’s tissue cells. These tissue cells (located in the subcutaneous layers we discussed above) are then full of excess fluid, causing the swelling, soreness, bruising, and pain that many women with Lipedema report.

As researchers continue to gain understanding and genetic proof of Lipedema and differentiate it genetically from other diseases that they’re commonly misdiagnosed with, it will only become easier for women with Lipedema to get a proper diagnosis. Then, as the disease is more widely known and understood, treatments will become better and better, it will be more difficult for insurance providers to refuse coverage for treatments. Hopefully from there, more doctors will be trained in treating women with Lipedema properly, so treatments will become more accessible across the country! Read more about the first-ever Standard of Care Guidelines for Lipedema here!

How do you treat Lipedema?

There are two categories of treatment, surgical and non-surgical. Insurance providers require patients first try non-surgical treatment options before they’ll consider approving lipedema surgery, and Lipedema providers should be able to walk patients through this. While Lymph-sparing liposuction is the only treatment option that can provide permanent results by removing the lipedema fat, non-surgical options can help slow progression and are also necessary post-surgery (so it’s still important to practice them!).

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

To the dismay of patients, wearing medical-grade, tight compression garments 24-hours per day, seven days per week, is the key to improve circulation for the lymphatic system, making this a go-to prescription from Lipedema experts. Compression garments come in a variety of strengths and will be prescribed based on the stage and type of affected areas. The tighter the compression, the better.

A healthy and consistent lifestyle of clean eating and low-impact exercise to address obesity will also help with Lipedema. A diet focused on low-carb and low-sugar has proven successful. Low-impact exercise such as walking, water aerobics, yoga, or gymnastics has also reported success. Patients must avoid yo-yo dieting while also permanently losing or, at the very least, maintaining their weight. What works for one patient may not work for another. Diet and exercise recommendations and healthy practices are essential, but ultimately should be based on the individual with the understanding that weight gain is not an option. 

Some patients opt-in to Manual Lymph Drainage massage (MLD), a gentle skin massage used to stimulate the circulation of the lymphatic system. While experts have yet to find significant evidence that MLD helps with Lipedema directly, some patients prefer it for its “hands-on” nature to addressing their symptoms.

Lymph-Sparing Liposuction for Lipedema

For patients in the later stages of Lipedema, the pain and disruption to daily life are not permanently addressed with compression garments, diet, and exercise alone. Traditional liposuction that uses general anesthesia, radio frequencies, ultrasound, or lasers are possibly damaging to the lymphatic vessels, and as such are not an option for Lipedema patients, either. However, Lymph-sparing liposuction is safe, using surgical techniques that avoid lymphatic injury, and the use of local tumescent anesthesia reduces the risk of complications. Generally, the most painful areas should be treated first, starting high on the legs and then moving downward in future surgeries.

lipedema surgery

Start Your Life-Changing Journey 

Even with all the challenges presented by lipedema, there are those who you can trust. Dr. Wright continues to strive for better education, research, and coverage for the lipedema community. Do not let these challenges bring you down even further; let Dr. Wright and his expert team help you to reduce the symptoms of lipedema and live your life fully! Dr. Wright can help find the right procedure to help manage your lipedema symptoms. Don’t let lipedema take over your life; contact us today!

Lipedema Standard of Care

As of May 28, 2021, Dr. Wright and nearly two dozen other Lipedema experts led by Dr. Karen Herbst published 85 consensus statements making up the first ever Standard of Care Guidelines for Lipedema in the United States. Prior to it’s publication, other countries such as Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and The Netherlands have documented and published Standards of Care for women with Lipedema, but the United States continued to lag behind it’s international colleagues. Ultimately, this resulted in American women with Lipedema being underdiagnosed, misdiagnosed, dismissed, and underserved. This publication is the first of many steps in the right direction to increasing awareness and proper treatment for women with this disease.

What are “Standard of Care” guidelines, and why are they important?

A standard Lipedema care typically refers to the formal guidelines that are generally accepted in the medical community for the treatment of a specific disease, condition, or ailment of some kind. These guidelines include important information including how to properly recognize and diagnose the condition in question, followed by the treatment process a medical provider should follow for patients with symptoms of the medical issue. The standard of care provides “best practices” developed by experts in the field who have come to a consensus of what is the most appropriate way to treat the condition at hand. 

The importance of having a standard of Lipedema care in place can be best understood by highlighting what happens when a standard is not in place, as we’ve seen in Lipedema prior to today. Clinical practice guidelines are compiled by the National Guideline Clearinghouse, which provides medical providers the ability to stay up-to-date on what the standard of care is in areas of treatment. When Lipedema is not included in these national guidelines, there are no resources for physicians to refer to. 

Without guidelines to the disease, symptoms checklists, or treatment plans, medical providers are unlikely to understand the disease or recognize it when they see it in their patients. Most women with Lipedema discover the disease on their own and bring it to their doctor to discuss a report being dismissed by their providers, who are unaware of the disease and have no medical expert guides as resources to refer to. This publication is a very important and exciting step to ending this cycle. 

A Background on Lipedema

An estimated 11% of the world’s female population, and 16 million women in the United States alone, are affected by Lipedema, a chronic, progressive, and disruptive fat disorder. Also referred to as Lipoedema in European countries, this disorder has a variety of symptoms, ranging from generally irritating to aggressively painful. Patients suffer from swollen, sensitive areas, unsightly, bulging and indented skin, and a disproportionately larger lower body. Without answers or solutions, patients often also suffer from secondary obesity. By the time they make it to a Lipedema specialist, they report similar stories; their primary doctors had not heard of Lipedema or dismissed it as unfounded. These medical professionals’ lack of knowledge leads to improper diagnoses such as general obesity, prescribing diet and exercise as a cure, and sometimes extraordinarily invasive and dangerous weight-loss surgeries. The journey towards diagnosis and treatment takes both a mental and physical toll of those it touches, a problem that the Standard of Lipedema Care guidelines seek to alleviate. 

11 Highlights from Lipedema’s Standard of Care Lipedema Guidelines

The Standard of Care for Lipedema guideline explains the following in far greater depth and should be the go-to resource for everyone in the Lipedema community, from providers to patients and their families. Below are only a few examples of action items provided, and the full standard should be consulted here for a comprehensive guide to understanding Lipedema, diagnosing it, and treating it across patients. 

 

  1. Knowing the barriers to treatment for women with Lipedema. It will be no surprise to women with this disease that patients have difficulty in self-care, limited mobility, experience a social stigma attached to their increased body size, experience anxiety and/or depression, and face a lack of knowledge in their healthcare providers. Plus, there are little to no affordable treatment options, and limited non-surgical options that offer any meaningful solutions. 
  2. There are no known medications that specifically treat Lipedema. Any use of medications or supplements should focus on reducing inflammation in the tissue, fibrosis, swelling, and pain. Medications that increase edema (swelling) or weight gain should be avoided and/or replaced with medications that are weight neutral or promote weight loss. 
  3. Lipedema tissue is resistant to diet, exercise, or bariatric surgery. This is likely due to the fibrotic component of loose connective tissues. While weight reduction of non-lipedema obesity is beneficial to reduce metabolic complications, the difference between Lipedema and non-Lipedema weight is imperative to successful treatment. 
  4. People with lipedema should be assessed for lipedema, lymphedema, posture, balance, muscle strength, gait and joint hypermobility. People with lipedema may benefit from postural and core exercises, muscle strengthening exercises, gait training, neuromuscular re-education, and deep abdominal breathing to increase lymphatic flow and stimulate the parasympathetic system. 
  5. Conservative (non-surgical) therapies or lipedema may help slow progression and possibly relieve symptoms, but at present there is little evidence on their effectiveness. Standard conservative therapy for lipedema includes nutritional guidance, manual therapy, compression garments, recommendations for a pneumatic compression device (external pump) and a home exercise plan.
  6. Lipedema reduction surgery is currently the only available technique for removing abnormal lipedema tissue. Adipocytes, nodules, fibrotic extracellular matrix, and other non-adipocyte components cannot be removed without lipedema reduction surgery, which utilizes suction lipectomy (liposuction), excision and manual extraction that spares blood and lymphatic vessels. Lipedema reduction surgery significantly improves symptoms,mobility, stance, gait, valgus rotation/deformity of the knee and ankle, quality of life, and redistributes and restores the plantar arch. It also improves lymphatic symptoms, reducing the need for compression and manual therapy and can improve lymphatic function as shown by radionucleotide lymphangioscintigraphy.
  7. Most people with lipedema have leg pain, all have leg swelling, either pitting or non-pitting, and many have underlying chronic venous disease. The physical examination should include inspection and palpation of pulses in the limbs. Pulse palpation in people with lipedema may be difficult and painful due to limb size. Common venous conditions seen in people with lipedema include increased risk for venous thromboembolism and conditions associated with chronic venous disease: varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency, and telangiectasias (spider veins).
  8. Updated Definition of Lipedema: While lipedema is still considered a fat disorder, new evidence further clarifies that all of the components loose connective tissue in the subcutaneous space maybe affected by lipedema these include adipose tissue,  fibrous tissue lymphatic , veins and arteries of the subcutaneous space. Therefore lipedema should be considered a loose connective tissue disorder not merely a fat disorder even though abnormal fat accumulation is a principal characteristic of lipedema.
  9. The clinical criteria for the diagnosis of lipedema was agreed on.
  10. Stages and Types of Lipedema was agreed on. Lipedema was divided into stages 1 through 3 stage 1. Stage one is typified by small nodules in the subcutaneous fat stage 2 is characterized by larger nodules and visible indents in the surface of the fat in stage 3 is characterized by lobules in the skin. Some authors have described a 4th stage for lipedema and called it lipolymphedema. The proposed 4th stage would be when lymphatics are affected and cause a secondary lymphedema from the lipedema. Our current understanding of lipedema is that lymphatics are affected at all stages of lipedema. While stage 2 and 3 more often show lymphatic impairment than stage 1 there is no clear stage of lipedema where lymphatic are affected. 

 

TABLE 1: Classification of lipedema severity according to Stößenreuther (2001).

STAGE SKIN SURFACE SUBCUTANEOUS ADIPOSE TISSUE
STAGE 1 NORMAL SMALL NODULES
STAGE 2 UNEVEN BIGGER NODULES
STAGE 3 LOBULAR DEFORMATION LARGE NODULES & DEFORMITIES

 

TABLE 2: Types of lipedema, used to describe the location of lipedema fat

TYPE LOCATION
TYPE I BUTTOCKS, HIPS (“SADDLEBAGS”)
TYPE II BUTTOCKS TO KNEES, WITH FOLDS OF FAT AROUND THE INNER KNEE
TYPE III BUTTOCKS TO ANKLES
TYPE IV ARMS
TYPE V LOWER LEGS

 

  1. Common  Diseases Associated with Lipedema Diagnosis.

Common complications of lipedema including lymphedema non lipedema obesity venous disease and hypermobile joints were described.

 

Put Criteria for EDS hs .  Beighton Criteria.

Table 2: Beighton’s joint hypermobility score.

The ability to Right   Left
(1) Passively dorsiflex the fifth metacarpophalangeal joint to ≥90◦ 1   1
(2) Oppose the thumb to the volar aspect of the ipsilateral forearm 1   1
(3) Hyperextend the elbow to ≥10◦ 1   1
(4) Hyperextend the knee to ≥10◦ 1   1
(5) Place hands flat on the floor without bending the knees   1  
Total possible score   9  

One point can be gained for each side for maneuvers 1–4 so that the hypermobility score will have a maximum of 9 points if all are positive. (12)  12. Vounotrypidis P, Efremidou E, Zezos P, et al. Prevalence of joint hypermobility and patterns of articular manifestations in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2009;2009:924138. doi:10.1155/2009/92413

References:

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/02683555211015887

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34049453/

https://www.lipedema.com/us-lipedema-soc#join

It’s not uncommon for women with Lipedema to either be misdiagnosed with severe obesity, or diagnosed with both Lipedema and obesity. In either scenario, it can be difficult to know what the next step should be. And if your doctor is recommending a serious surgery, such as bariatric surgery, to address obesity, it can be even more difficult to understand the relationship that has with lipedema, and how treatments should work so that both issues are addressed. 

Typically, BMI plays a large role in the starting point for obesity diagnosis, even if patient’s are certain they have lipedema. But what many don’t realize is that both can be true! The longer your lipedema goes untreated, the more it progresses. And the more lipedema progresses, the more likely it is that you develop obesity as a side effect. For example, while Lipedema fat accumulation can contribute and lead to a Body Mass Index (BMI), of up to 35, obesity in addition to lipedema can lead to higher BMIs, ranging from 45 to 50+. In these cases, it’s imperative to first address and treat obesity prior to putting together a treatment option for lipedema, and the most successful obesity treatment is Bariatric surgery. 

What Does BMI have to do with Lipedema?

Body Mass Index (BMI) = weight in pounds (or kilograms) divided by height in feet squared (or meters squared). 

Body Mass Index (BMI) is simply an overall numerical score (like height and weight) which is not a biological representation of a person’s overall health. While the World Health Organization (WHO) defines a BMI over 25 as overweight and over 30 as obese, this is actually an inaccurate and incomplete assessment. Overall, obesity is a condition where fat mass affects patients metabolically, chemically, and mechanically (for example, in your joints).

 

In many cases, BMI is actually a very flawed number that leads doctors to misdiagnose women with Lipedema with obesity instead. The Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation is an unfortunate oversimplification of a person’s health, and ignores extremely important factors that are imperative for accurate diagnosis and treatment plans. Family history and genetics, general lifestyle and activity levels, age, gender, and body composition (muscle mass, water content, bone mass) are all essential parts of our health profile, all of which are ignored by the BMI calculation. Despite all of this, it continues to be used worldwide to aid in diagnosing (or misdiagnosing and oversimplifying) patient health profiles.

As mentioned above, lipedema can lead to a BMI of 35 simply due to the disproportionate fat it creates. At this point, it’s unlikely that patients have metabolic fat accumulations, because lipedema fat is somewhat cardiac protective. At this point, patients can likely manage it well enough with an anti-inflammatory diet and regular exercise. 

This helps treat lipedema, and is associated with weight loss because low inflammation means patients also have low insulin excretion, which, in itself, helps patients feel better, improve health, and manage their lipedema. 

However, once a BMI over 35 is reached, patients are considered to have both lipedema and obesity. At this point, weight loss is CRITICAL. You must address that first, because the increased weight puts additional pressure on your lymphatics, further aggravates the existing lipedema, and continues to negatively affect venous return. All of this leads to more serious medical issues. 

The metabolic issues that develop from obesity are extremely serious, especially high blood sugar and increased levels of triglycerides which can aggravate and increase BMI even more. Ultimately, patients find themselves in a disastrous cycle, starting with increased BMI and fat accumulation, leading to the metabolic issues, and then to further increases in obesity and lipedema. 

The best part about addressing obesity with Bariatric surgery? It increases the odds of significant and long-term weight loss. 

One study showed that 95% of people who lose 20+ lbs (without surgery) ultimately regain it, and only 5% keep it off. Patients who undergo Bariatric surgery, on the other hand, experience a weight loss of 65-70 lbs on average, and are 10X more likely to keep it off in comparison to traditional weight loss diets. In fact, over 60% of patients who undergo this surgery are able to keep this off for 15+ years, and they lose, on average, 70% of their excess weight.  Meanwhile, only 3.4% of patients regained the weight within 10 years post surgery! 

Obesity in lipedema patients should be addressed prior to liposuction for lipedema, because about 10% of patients regain their fat in the treated areas – especially those who have the higher BMI. Lipedema and obesity experts are finding that post surgical growth of lipedema tissue can affect a staggarting 30% of patients, so ultimately patients are more likely to have recurrence of lipedema fat if treated prior to addressing their obesity. And Bariatric surgery is the most successful treatment for obesity in these patients by far. 

I’ve recovered from bariatric surgery. Now what?

After fully recovering from your bariatric surgery, it’s important to do two things. First, maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine, following the anti-inflammation based diet mentioned below, and exercising daily for about 30 minutes a day. Below is an example of what a daily meal plan should look like. 

While continuing this practice, you should also start working towards your official lipedema diagnosis, if you don’t already have one. As you continue your post-bariatric surgery lifestyle, you’ll want to start working towards a lipedema treatment plan. Now that you’ve freed your body of the obesity-related fat, it means you’ll have greater success in ridding your body of the painful, swollen, stubborn lipedema fat. Check out these resources for how to best address the next steps of diagnosis, non-surgical treatment options while you wait for lipedema surgery, and what to expect from lipedema surgery as well. 

Contact Dr. Wright today if you have questions or would like to set up a consultation – his team is available to help guide you wherever they can!

The story is almost always the same, and we hear it all the time; women are living in pain for the majority of their lives, begging for medical explanations and solutions, and are coming up empty. These women spend years – sometimes decades – struggling with uncontrollable and disproportional weight, deep bruising and tender skin from the lightest of touches, and have constant swelling. Their weight gain is typically in their limbs or “trunk” and widely does not affect their feet, hands, or upper body from the waist up. These symptoms progress, cause more pain, and often get to the point that women are unable to walk upstairs, take a brisk walk, or even sit for long periods of time without feeling intense pain and discomfort. 

The consistent diagnosis from their primary care doctors centers around their weight, and are diagnosed for general obesity, and prescribed treatments that range from diet and exercise to more extreme surgeries to curb appetites and encourage weight loss. Unfortunately, for those who have Lipedema, these treatments will turn up useless and ineffective, yet their doctors assume the issue is from the patient’s lack of dedication to the prescribed program, rather than the misdiagnosis of the disease known as Lipedema. 

4 Steps to a Lipedema Diagnosis

What is Lipedema?

Despite affecting an estimated 11% of women around the world, Lipedema is not yet widely known. Fat cells, (also referred to as adipose tissue) provide the human body with both cushioning and insulation. Lipedema affects the accumulation of these fat cells in the body, resulting in bulging, irregular fat in the affected areas. The legs are the most commonly affected area, but sometimes spreading occurs in the torso, and in many cases, excessive clustering of fat cells is noticed in the arms as well. Regardless of the affected area, the symptoms are equally debilitating, and unfortunately, these fat cells are equally resistant to both diet and exercise programs. 

Unlike Lymphedema or general obesity,  Lipedema has a tendency to affect both limbs equally and generally becomes more apparent over the course of time. Lipedema’s progressive nature makes getting a proper diagnosis and treatment imperative and extremely time-sensitive – as the disorder progresses so does the pain, immobility, and discomfort.

Getting a Lipedema Diagnosis Step 1: Symptoms Checklist

In addition to the characteristic disproportionate fat accumulation, there are specific physical signs and symptoms of Lipedema. Do any of the following Lipedema symptoms sound like something you regularly experience?

Lipedema Symptoms Checklist:

☑Tender skin that is sensitive to the touch, feels pressure when walking or climbing stairs, crossing your legs, or sitting for long periods of time.

☑Skin’s surface feels nodular and firm, like beans in a bean bag or rubber balls. 

☑Skin’s surface is uneven, with large bulges and valleys up and down. Areas that were traditionally thought of as cellulite are much more dramatic and bulging. 

☑Skin’s temperature is relatively cool.

☑Legs feel heavy and tired.

☑Swelling in the affected area (legs, arms), worsening during the day, and better at night after you’re able to elevate your limbs (such as laying in bed). 

☑Easy bruising.

☑Visible veins.

☑Disproportionate fat accumulation, not affected by calorie restriction. Think extreme “pear-shaped” body. 

☑Feet and hands are unaffected by weight gain or swelling. As a result, there’s often a “cuff” at the ankles or wrists. 

Overall, Lipedema appears in a series of three stages. Do any of these sounds like you?

3 Stages of Lipedema:

3 Stages of Lipedema Infographic

If one of these stages sounds like you, and you checked off multiple items on the list above, you may have Lipedema, but it’s impossible to say for sure. The only way to know for sure is to get a proper Lipedema diagnosis, which in itself is an important process. 

Getting a Lipedema Diagnosis Step 2: Recognize Related Conditions

The diagnosis of Lipedema is made based on a clinical evaluation from a physician with specific knowledge and experience of the disease in combination with supporting tests that rule out other diagnoses. For this reason, it’s no surprise that Lipedema is a poorly recognized and under-appreciated disease in the United States – it takes an expert to recognize it, and finding an expert is tough if you’ve just learned about it yourself! The recognition of characteristic features of Lipedema and the elimination of other conditions that can be confused with Lipedema is the key to the proper diagnosis. We know it can be overwhelming, but knowing as much as possible before speaking with your doctor or seeking out an expert is another tool in your pocket to ensure you receive the care you need. You can read more about related conditions here, but it’s important to know the main points to advocate for yourself.

Below are conditions that can be confused with and can affect people with Lipedema. Because there can be so much overlap in appearance and symptoms, only clinicians with the training and experience to diagnose and treat these conditions can differentiate them. If you’re diagnosed with one of these conditions but you feel strongly that the diagnosis is incorrect, these summaries can help highlight why. 

While Lipedema typically does not have to swell in the patient’s feet and hands, Lymphedema will always have swelling in these areas. Lipedema symmetrically affects both legs equally, but Lymphedema usually affects one leg or arm and leaves the other leg or arm unaffected. There may be overlap in these two diseases and treatments can be similar, but some patients only experience Lymphedema after their Lipedema progresses into later stages. 

Obesity is much more common than Lipedema, and the most common misdiagnosis for it. While obesity is the accumulation of excess fat, stored centrally inside the abdomen or belly, Lipedema is the excess accumulation of fat out of proportion on the extremities, and typically not in the abdomen or belly. There may be overlap in these two conditions, too. In fact, sometimes obesity develops as a secondary condition due to the mobility problems caused by the Lipedema. So, not only is lipedema often misidentified as just obesity, but obesity can also complicate Lipedema, and be a symptom of it. 

The symptoms of Lipedema and venous insufficiency are similar. They both cause heaviness, tenderness, fatigue, and swelling. They often both have discoloration in the shins, easy bruising, and prominent veins. In more advanced cases of venous insufficiency, not only does venous lymphedema develop, but a secondary Veno- Lipo- Lymphedema develops. With the overwhelmed lymph circulation, the ability to clear fatty acids from the affected tissue is compromised and a secondary fat accumulation occurs. In many cases, the best way to differentiate between lipedema and venous insufficiency and veno- lipo-lymphedema is to have a specialized standing venous Doppler ultrasound to check for venous reflux.

Conditions Like Lipedema

Getting a Lipedema Diagnosis Step 3: Find a Lipedema Expert 

Now that you’ve reviewed the signs and symptoms of Lipedema, determined that you identify with at least some of them, and you’ve familiarized yourself with other commonly related diagnoses, it’s time for the final step – finding a Lipedema specialist and getting tested! Each Lipedema doctor will have their own preferred method of diagnosing their patients and typically will include a physical exam, patient questionnaires, and then additional testing and ultrasounds to further support the physical exam. 

Getting a Lipedema Diagnosis Step 4: Diagnostic Testing 

Below are the different tests you may experience during this time, and it’s important to keep them in mind as you select your doctor. Moving forward, thoroughness will be your best friend; we highly recommend “interviewing” different Lipedema experts to find someone you trust, someone who can provide at least some of these diagnostic tests, and someone who is well versed in treatment options.

Note: There is no single test to diagnose Lipedema. Tests, however, are important to rule out a related disorder.

Stemmer’s Sign Test:

The Stemmer’s Sign is the inability to pinch the skin between the toes or fingers. As mentioned in our last section, Lipedema in advanced stages can be complicated by secondary Lymphedema and may have a stemmer’s sign. This test can help Lipedema experts determine if this is the case for you. 

Venous Doppler Ultrasound:

A Venous Doppler Ultrasound is a very useful test for the diagnosis of Lipedema. Lipedema has many similarities to venous insufficiency (as explained above), so this can help rule out or confirm venous insufficiency.  The Venous Doppler Ultrasound can readily detect venous insufficiency if done properly and by having the patient stand while completing it. Unfortunately, most hospital vascular labs complete Venous Doppler Ultrasounds with the patient lying down, While this is the typical way to find Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), it is definitely not a successful method to detect venous insufficiency. A standing venous Doppler ultrasound is a painless, non-invasive, and inexpensive test that provides a lot of useful information about venous circulation. The Doppler ultrasound not only helps determine the presence of underlying venous problems, but it also gives critical information for managing Lipedema. If venous insufficiency is present, it is important that treatment is given as the resulting increased venous pressures can greatly aggravate Lipedema.

Lymphoscintigraphy:

This is generally only used in complicated cases, where clinical diagnosis is not clear. This is a nuclear scan that assesses the lymph system. It may come back as normal in patients with Lipedema and may show the characteristic “corkscrew” changes with Lymphedema. In most cases of Lymphedema, lymphoscintigraphy shows delayed uptake. So lymphoscintigraphy can be very helpful to determine if and how significant a role lymphedema is playing in an individual’s symptoms, especially when there are widespread issues of swelling in the body. 

Life After Diagnosis

First – congratulations! We know the road to diagnosis is emotionally draining, physically painful, and it can feel lonely and discouraging. The time and research it takes to make it to this point are huge, and you should be proud of yourself and the courage it takes to be your own advocate. Our hope for all women with Lipedema, whether they are our patients or not, is that we can provide valuable tools and knowledge so that more women can make it to this point and take the next step in living a more mobile, healthy, and enjoyable life. 

After going through the diagnosis process and receiving a positive Lipedema diagnosis, most patients are relieved, overjoyed, and validated by their endless search. After years of living with the private struggle and knowledge that “something just isn’t right” in their body, putting a name to the issues is a huge win. And after an official diagnosis, there are many different treatment paths available to you! A treatment plan should be discussed and developed between you and your Lipedema doctor, but you can read more about non-surgical and surgical options that we recommend to our patients. While these will always depend on specific cases and patient needs, it can give you an idea of what options may be available to you. Good luck! 

Each year the country stops and takes a month to give more awareness to lipedema and those who have been diagnosed with it. June has been designated as Lipedema Awareness Month and has been observed for several years now. Take a look at what you should know about his important month each year:

History of Lipedema

When observing Lipedema Awareness Month, it is important to understand the start of lipedema itself. Lipedema was first recognized in 1940 by Mayo Clinic physicians Dr. Edgar Hines and Dr. Edgar Allen. They specifically identified the fat tissue that typically develops in the legs and occasionally arms for those diagnosed with lipedema. Even with the condition having been identified for 80 years, we still do not know everything there is to know about its cause.

Lipedema Awareness Month

Lipedema Awareness Month helps to identify lipedema for those who were not familiar with it before. Several different non-profit organizations currently offer education and research into understanding lipedema further. Become more aware of what is currently being done in this field and help those who are currently researching possible causes and cures for lipedema. One great organization to which you can donate is The Lipedema Project. You can also attend online and in-person programs to help you handle living with lipedema. Having a community behind you can make it much easier to deal with this disease.

Fat Disorders Research Society Conference

Each year during Lipedema Awareness Month, the Fat Disorders Research Society put on their annual conference to help education those with lipedema and discuss current trends related to it. Panels are led by some of the top clinicians in the field can cover topics such as managing pain, getting emotional support, helping your lymphatic flow, and much more. Additional panels will show findings from current research into lipedema and what they mean for the future. Unfortunately, this year’s Fat Disorders Research Society Conference has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. However, start planning today if you are interested in next year’s set of events that will be announced in the following months.

Always Stay Up to Date

Participating in Lipedema Awareness Month is always important, but so is staying knowledgeable about lipedema at all times. Lipedema.Net along with Dr. Wright will continue to offer you everything you need to know about lipedema from research to current treatments being offered. Let us help you live easier with lipedema.

Before you start looking for more invasive treatments to help reduce the symptoms of your lipedema, you should start with conservative steps. Your nutrition plays a key factor in maintaining some symptoms of lipedema. We recommend following a Rare Adipose Disorder (RAD) diet. This type of diet is actually a modification to a standard Mediterranean diet that helps you maintain a low glycemic index. In order to do this, it is recommended that you avoid any refined or processed starches and sugars. These are usually found in pasta, rice, bread, corn and potatoes. We avoiding highly processed food especially processed carbohydrates will keep insulin level low.  Keeping insulin level low will give you best chance at fat loss and lower overall body inflammation.

Lipedema experts also report that avoiding starches alone will not prevent symptoms from flaring up. It is also recommended that individuals with lipedema may want to reduce their gluten intake.  Some people who may be sensitive to gluten and not know it unless they try a gluten free diet for a few weeks. Gluten is typically found in wheat, rye, and barley. While it can be difficult to avoid these commonly found ingredients it will help reduce gut inflammation. Instead of gluten, make sure your diet focuses on foods high in omega-3 and fiber. This will help you burn fat and reduce any inflammation. Foods you will want to focus on include nuts, beans, fish, and whole grains. Here we give you essential information about Lipedema nutrition.

Add Supplements to Your Nutrition for Lipedema

Adjusting your diet is not the only change that can help with your symptoms of lipedema. Adding physical exercise to your regular regime will also help with your symptoms. Pairing your new workout regime with supplements will make the biggest impact on any changes you will notice. Adding supplements and work outs to your daily scheduled will need to be reviewed by your physician to ensure you remain healthy. The following supplements can help with your lipedema symptoms:

Vitamin D3: Lipedema patients are typically deficient with Vitamin D, an essential supplement that plays a critical role with your immune system. It also helps your bone, muscle, and nervous system health. It is recommended that lipedema patient who are deficient in Vitamin D take up to 4 times the Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA.

Selenium: A supplement that can aid with your daily metabolism is Selenium. It has been known to help reduce swelling that is often painful and continuous for those with lipedema. While supplemental pills can be hard to find you can find them in brazil nuts; eating just 2 of these nuts per day should be enough to notice a difference.

Diosmin: Perhaps the most effective supplement to take is Diosmin, a bioflavonoid that is commonly found in citrus fruits. They can have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and lymph-tonic properties that will help with your symptoms of lipedema.

Get Help with Your Lipedema

We’re here to help you learn more about the symptoms and treatment methods associated with Lipedema. You don’t have to fight this debilitating disease alone. Contact us today!

When dealing with the effects of lipedema, your body can also feel the repercussions of direct impact to your lymphatic and venous circulation system. Both systems together help the body create lymph. Venous disorders like venous hypertension and venous reflux impact these combined systems to create excess lymph production. Having an overwhelmed production can lead to overloaded lymphatic circulation. Both the venous system and our lymphatic circulation utilize passive contractions to clear this fluid from our limbs.

Lymphatic Issues Occurring with Lipedema

Our lymphatic system has several key jobs to help our body function properly. First, it drains our body cells of any debris that needs to be removed. It also drains any excess fluid our tissues have built up. The lymphatic system also transports any clean fluid back to our blood that needs it. With such an important job for our body, it is critical to understand how lipedema can cause additional lymphatic issues. Individuals with lipedema will notice that their lymph fluids are not properly draining, causing buildup in the legs. This fluid building can be painful and cause additional swelling.

Venous Issues Occurring with Lipedema

Our venous system is made up of deep venous pumps and veins located throughout the legs. These pumps when properly working pump 90% of the blood from the legs. The other 10% of the blood is pumped through a superficial venous system. While this system is typically less important than the deep venous pumps, they are at more risk when lipedema is involved. Blood flow may reverse and flow in the opposite direction; healthy vein valves ensure our blood is flowing in one direction for a healthy system.

Treating Vein Issues

Vein insufficiency and other venous issues can cause your lipedema symptoms to worsen over time. Significant vein insufficiency can cause venous issues that are not superficial such as ulcers. If you are looking into surgical treatment for lipedema, you will need your vein issues to be treated first. Vein issues can cause problems during surgery if blood flow is not working correctly. It can also lead to poor wound healing after the procedure has been completed. The increased risk of blood clots is one factor any surgeon will want to avoid.

Receive Your Vein Evaluation Today

Prepare for your lipedema treatment by first seeking out a vein evaluation. A healthy venous system is needed to successfully complete any procedures associated with lipedema. Contact us now!