June is National Lipedema Awareness Month
This month I am breaking from traditional national recognition awareness celebrations for our site and highlight something very near and dear to our heart. My wife suffers from severe Lipo-Lymhedema, which is two separate conditions (primary Lipedema with secondary Lymphedema) compounded to yield one very debilitating disease. She suffers every day with chronic pain and mobility issues. However, even struggling with daily tasks she has found the time to try and educate, advocate and help others suffering from the same disease in her own website – More Than Fat.
Once I started reading her story and what constitutes Lipo-Lymphedema I felt there may be readers here that may be suffering from Lipedema, Lymphedema or Lipo-Lymphedema and not even know it! If you suffer from a disproportionately larger area from the waist down with a smaller area above the abdomen and diet and exercise don’t seem to do anything, you could very well have one of these diseases. It’s worth a look if you or someone you know has any of these symptoms:
- Lower body is disproportionate to your upper body
- Symmetrical appearance of affected limbs, but the feet are still normal
- Tenderness or pain in parts of you hip, thigh or leg areas (pea to fist size lipomas)
- Bruising happens easily (even if you didn’t bump into something)
- Upper arms may be affected (and would be symmetrical)
- Skin may spongy at first then lumpy or bumpy
- Diet and exercise have no effect on your lower body
- Skin folds may have appeared over the knee or ankle
- Loose joints and ligaments (particularly in the knees)
- Swelling that when elevated does not provide relief (hot weather makes it worse)
- Hormonal changes make things worse (puberty, childbirth, menopause)
- Pant sizes keep going up, prefer to wear skirts instead
If so, make an appointment with your clinician soon to discuss diagnosis criteria and treatment plans! It’s never too late to make lifestyle changes to help treat your Lipedema condition!
You can read more about the awareness month on her site. If you or someone you know has these conditions you can also read more in a book by the Lipedema Project called “Lipedema- The Disease They Call Fat: A Clinician’s Guide,” which is a great tool to use in talking with your doctor about the disease. There are also several good websites where you can get additional information and support.
Lipedema Body Types
Lipedema fat can manifest itself in several areas of your body. The most common areas are on the hips, thighs, lower legs, ankles and upper arms. Some will even have Lipedema fat on the lower arms and abdomen areas too.
There are a couple common configurations for these special fat deposits, hence the body type composition. So, if you don’t have large ankles, which is a definite tell-tale sign of the disease, you may just have a different body type composition.
The Lipedema Foundation has created a great pamphlet to help people learn more about Lipedema. Click on the brochure to read its contents. If you suspect that you or a loved ones fits the symptoms and body type for Lipedema, make an appointment to see your doctor soon to discuss a possible diagnosis and treatment plan.
Remember, it’s never too late to get help and there is a whole community of people both in person and online wanting to help you with your Lipedema and/or Lymphedema needs.
To your improved health!