Do you remember when you first noticed that your upper body was skinny, but from the waist down you were not? Some refer to it as their ‘two in one body’. From the waist up you are a size 6 and from the waist down a size 12.
It is frustrating because you have tried diets and exercise, but nothing has helped. You lost some weight, but the ‘shape of your body’ did not change. Millions of women like you are discouraged and looking for answers.
A friend recently shared her story of struggling with the physical and emotional burden of being ‘heavy from the waist down’. Her doctor told her she was fat, and she needed to diet and exercise more, but she knew there must be something more. One day, a friend gave her an article that changed her life. She discovered that she had lipedema and her struggles with her body shape was not all her fault. That day she began her journey to healing.
If you identify with my friend, we want you to know there is hope. The Vein Specialists of the South Team is here to listen and guide you in your journey to overcome lipedema.
Lipedema is a fat deposit disease that affects millions of Americans, almost exclusively women. Exact numbers are not available because most patients and doctors are unaware of lipedema, as a disease, and often mistake it for obesity or lymphedema.
In lipedema, fat accumulates in the buttocks, thighs, and calves, and in some cases the upper arms. A diagnostic key is that it spares the hands and feet until later stages when lymphedema develops as a complication of lipedema.
Dr. Stanley Rockson, a medical professor at Stanford University, reports though the exact cause is not known lipedema appears to be a genetic condition. It seems to be hormone triggered with onset around puberty, childbirth and menopause.
Normal fat cells expand when you overeat and shrink when you diet. But if you have lipedema your fat cells are not normal. Lipedema is like a bank where fat deposits are accepted but withdrawals are not allowed.
*Individual Results May Vary
Lipedema is a progressive condition that gradually worsen if preventative steps are not taken. Early lipedema can be difficult to differentiate from simple weight gain in healthy patients or swelling known as lymphedema.
Several factors differentiate between lymphedema and lipedema. Unlike lymphedema, lipedema spares the feet and ankles until advanced stages of the disease when swelling into the foot and toes occurs. Lipedema is not related to prior surgery, other medical conditions, or medications. It is usually symmetrical. Although patients with lipedema describe their legs as swollen, they do not have pitting of the skin when you press until late in their disease process.
As lipedema gets worse, fatty deposits are seen in the hips, thighs and legs while sparing your feet. At that point the mismatch between the upper and the lower body with its fatty deposits becomes more noticeable.
Lipedema ‘fat’ is tender to touch, nodular in feel and bruises easily. Areas of lipomas (fatty tumors) and nodules begin to develop obstructing the free venous and lymphatic flow causing secondary lymphedema (swelling in the tissues).
If not treated, lipedema can lead to immobility, pain, loss of strength, fibrosis of the skin, risk of infection and disability. The sad thing is that much of this may have been preventable with earlier diagnosis and treatment.
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Do not give up. Call for an evaluation at Vein Specialists of the South. Our team is here to listen to your concerns and develop a plan of care to help you overcome lipedema.
Learn more. Check out the resources at our VSS Lipedema treatment page to learn how we can help you.
Join a lipedema support group. If you think you may have lipedema, do not give up. Having a chronic disease is hard. This is especially the case with lipedema. You have physical issues that can affect your quality of life. And you have the emotional issues of a having a disease that is visible to others but poorly understood. There are good support groups for patients with lipedema where women support each other and share ideas for what worked for them.
Become an advocate. Learn everything you can about lipedema. Educate others and share what you know with your primary doctor so they can better help you and others.
Receive a FREE resource and learn how our Lipedema team can give you hope through treatment.
VSS has experience in treating those with Lipedema and has a true passion for helping those suffering from the disease. Vein Specialists of the South has been helping patients since 1997 with vein, lymphedema and Lipedema conditions often dismissed by most doctors.
Dr. Kenneth Harper speaks at local medical educational “Grand Rounds’ and other organizations to educate the medical community what lipedema is, the signs, symptoms, and treatments available. He is committed to bringing lipedema awareness to the forefront of doctors in across Georgia. You couldn’t be in better hands.
Since 1997 Vein Specialists of the South has helped thousands of patients like you with varicose veins, spider veins, and leg swelling. Dr. Kenneth Harper a leader in vein health is a Diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and the American Vein and Lymphatic Medicine. Terri Harper, MSN, FNP-C, is a leader in the field of cosmetic spider vein education. Our dedicated nurse injectors have been trained by the best.
At VSS we have a passion for veins big and small. Serving more than 20,000 patients, Vein Specialists of the South is committed to bringing you Better Veins for Life®. Call today to schedule an appointment with the VSS team, ‘where veins are not just one thing we do, they are the only thing we do.’
*Individual Results May Vary
“It’s not just one thing we do, it’s the only thing we do.”