Lipedema and Anorexia: The Skinny on this Seemingly Unlikely Combination You Probably Never Heard Of


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The words “lipedema” and “anorexia” uttered in the same sentence may leave elicit incredulous looks.  But, the two equally disfiguring physical conditions are not mutually exclusive.  Let’s look at the likelihood of developing these two unlikely chronic conditions – at the same time.

By this point, it’s probably safe to say you’ve heard of lipedema, its causes, its symptoms, and proven treatments.  But, did you know those with lipedema could very well develop the eating disorder known as anorexia?  There’s a disturbing portion of the female population that struggles with both the fat deposition disorder as well as the life-threatening eating disorder.  The images online will astound you.  It’s like looking at two different bodies on one person – thin, emaciated upper bodies with visible ribs, veins, and shredded abdominals, while the lower half features column-like legs layered with lumpy pockets of fat that are so characteristic of lipedema. What causes this unlikely combination and who is most susceptible to developing this rare type of lipedema known as anorexic lipedema?

The short answer:  anyone who has lipedema and suffers from body dysmorphia.  The long, more complicated answer:  anyone who unwittingly is aware they have a clinical fat deposition disorder, has been misdiagnosed as obese, and/or has developed an unrelenting obsession with excessive exercising and self-starvation as a direct result of said misdiagnosis or unawareness.  Because of the unfortunate lack of information and awareness surrounding lipedema – in the medical community and beyond – those suffering with the fat deposition disorder are completely unaware they are battling a condition that is beyond their control.  So, believing they’re simply fat or obese, they resort to extreme dieting and exercising in a deliberate quest to torch the unwanted fat that doesn’t seem to want to budge.  Instead, fat almost effortlessly melts away from the upper body as the lower body increases in size, leaving legs riddled with lumpy, painful pockets of fat.  The vicious cycle continues until the patient is (finally) properly diagnosed with lipedema and learns their stubborn fat is there to stay (unless surgical intervention becomes an option) through no fault of their own.

Those whose bodies can properly metabolize fat see a decrease in their fat cells with proper diet and exercise, while their bodies noticeably transform.  The same cannot be said for those struggling with the unfair effects of lipedema.  All the exercise in the world will never decrease their fat cells; fat cells of those living with lipedema only increase over time.  The only truly effective, long-term treatment option is liposuction, specifically lymphatic sparing liposuction, a unique liposuction technique performed by Dr. Jaime Schwartz of Total Lipedema Care.

Winning the Battle of the Bulge Without Losing Your Mind
If you’re losing the war on the battle of the bulge and notice the weight in your lower body is only increasing with lumpy, painful pockets of fat and find exercising and dieting have zero effect on its mitigation, you may have lipedema.  Step away from the scale.  No amount of exercise and dieting is going to move the needle.  You may notice your upper half gaining desirable definition only to be frustrated by the uncooperative nature of your lower half.  We invite you to contact our office to set up a consultation with Dr. Jaime Schwartz for a full medical evaluation and to discuss possible, customized treatment options to help get you started on your journey to recovery.  If you’ve been disillusioned about your health and body image and have developed an all-consuming obsession to working out, looking in the mirror, comparing yourself to others, along with unsustainable, extreme dieting, you may need to seek psychiatric care and/or mental counseling to help heal from the mentally and socially debilitating effects of body dysmorphia and/or anorexia/lipedema anorexia.

To learn more, please contact our Beverly Hills, California office to schedule a consultation with any of our highly trained specialists.