Lipedema is a fat disorder that's usually mistaken for simple obesity. Also known as a lipid metabolism disorder, lipedema sufferers usually have large hips and legs, often in disproportion to the rest of the body.

Stages of Lipedema

Before therapy is initiated, the doctor has to find out one's current stage of lipedema. 

There are four stages of lipedema. These are:
  • Stage 1
This is the initial stage of lipedema. At this stage, it is hard to distinguish lipedema from excess fat on the lower body.

To diagnose lipedema at this stage, doctors look for extra fat in the buttocks, thighs, and calves but not in the ankles and feet.
In this early stage of lipedema, the skin surface appears smooth but subcutaneous fat is thickened.

  • Stage 2
If early stage lipedema is not managed, it will continually progress.
In stage 2, fat deposits or nodules are under the skin, causing a bumpy or uneven appearance of the skin.

  • Stage 3
Without appropriate treatment, fat continues to build up in the lower part of the body, making it difficult to move. 
At this stage, large masses of fat are formed, creating the appearance of deformity.

  • Stage 4
Also known as the advanced stage of lipedema, stage 4 is characterized by swelling of the entire lower body and development of lipedema in the arms.

Stopping the Progression

To keep lipedema from progressing to the advanced stage, early intervention is highly recommended, especially at stage 1.

During the early stage of lipedema, the use of compression garments is recommended. It helps in supporting the fatty swelling and managing the pain.

However, for long-term solution, tumescent liposuction is recommended. It's the only treatment that shows to be effective in reducing the buildup of fatty tissues associated with lipedema.

Using a tube, tumescent liposuction sucks out the unwanted fats. Several sessions may be needed to achieve optimal results especially if different areas of the body are affected.

Image via Canva
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