HOW DO I EXPLAIN WHAT LIPEDEMA IS TO MY LOVED ONES?
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Lipedema, a medical condition that causes fluid-like fat to accumulate in the lower extremities, affects millions of women in the United States. While the exact cause of this predominantly female disease is unknown, women often struggle with their condition in silence. Frequently misdiagnosed as a weight or lifestyle issue, women with lipedema often feel ashamed about their appearance, struggling with thick legs, cankles, and painful, lumpy cellulite. This shame causes them to further isolate themselves from others or attend social gatherings. It also means that many women choose to forgo sharing their concerns about how their bodies are changing with loved ones, or even disclosing that they have been suffering in silence from a chronic and painful medical condition.
Lipedema specialist and board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz is the founder of Total Lipedema Care (TLC) in Beverly Hills, CA. He is well-known throughout the medical and lipedema community for his extensive knowledge and treatment options to address this chronic disease. Read on to learn more about what finding a lipedema specialist like Dr. Schwartz and the caring team at Total Lipedema Care can offer and how their knowledge and resources have helped many patients share the facts about this condition with their loved ones.
IS LIPEDEMA WHY MY LEGS ARE FAT?
The professional staff at Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, CA is dedicated to helping patients receive an accurate diagnosis of lipedema, offering guidance, treatment, and support on how to live with this disease. After an accurate diagnosis, patients can finally answer the question that plagues most sufferers, “Is lipedema why my legs are fat?”
A common misconception often associated with lipedema is that a woman’s weight gain is due to poor lifestyle choices. Often misdiagnosed as a weight issue, a lipedema expert like Dr. Schwartz can distinguish between lipedema fluid buildup in the lower extremities, or if a patient is dealing with obesity and no signs of lipedema are present.
One of the hallmark traits associated with lipedema is an extreme pear-like body shape, which becomes more pronounced as the disease progresses. Women experience weight gain and a fatty buildup or swelling in their legs, butt, hips, and flank area, leaving their upper torso smaller in comparison. Painful fat is also a symptom of lipedema. As the disease moves through its stages (there are four stages of lipedema), fluid builds in the affected areas, creating an almost column-like appearance to the legs. Eventually, the pain and tenderness worsen, causing mobility issues, among other debilitating issues.
HOW DO YOU GET LIPEDEMA?
Lipedema research has shown there is a genetic link of this disease being passed down through female family members. The progressive “fatty fluid” buildup in the lower extremities, which is unresponsive to diet and exercise, can be seen throughout a patient’s family tree. The disproportionate body type of excessive fatty tissue settling in the legs, butt, or hips can be seen in older generations with grandmothers, aunts, and mothers. Lipedema specialists, like Dr. Schwartz, have found a direct link showing that many patients’ other female family members were afflicted with the same characteristics and symptoms.
IS THERE A CURE FOR LIPEDEMA?
While there currently is no cure for lipedema, which affects one in nine females, it can be managed. By receiving a definitive diagnosis, women no longer have to suffer in silence with this “painful fat” that has plagued them, often for years. For decades, this condition was often overlooked as an issue of weight or unhealthy lifestyle, causing women to be embarrassed, afraid to seek medical advice or refusing to ask loved ones for help. Today, lipedema is recognized as a progressive disorder, and specialists like Dr. Schwartz are working diligently to figure out the answers to this complex disease. Dr. Schwartz feels that the more information a patient has, from the stages of lipedema to the various treatment options, the more they are able to open up to family and friends about the condition and get the understanding and emotional support they seek.
Dr. Jaime Schwartz and the caring, professional staff at Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, CA are dedicated to helping women find a way to live with lipedema and actually start the conversation with loved ones about what lipedema is. If you are concerned you might have lipedema and want to have an open discussion with an expert, please contact Total Lipedema Care and schedule a one-on-one consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon and lipedema specialist Dr. Schwartz today.