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Lipedema: a disease that affects one in 10 women worldwide

Fat accumulation in the legs, swelling and asymmetry of the body, especially in women, can be a sign of lipedema, a chronic disease that is still unknown.

Recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) this year with the ICD classification, the International Classification of Diseases, the disease is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of fat in certain areas of the body, such as the legs, arms, knees and thighs. It is estimated that one in ten women in the world has the disease, according to data from the Sociedad Española de Medicina Estética (SEME).

Plastic surgeon and professor at Ufes Patricia Lyra warns that lipedema is not localized fat. “The disease affects women almost exclusively, and is caused by moments of hormonal imbalance. Menopause, pregnancy and ultimately the use of contraceptives are pathogens. It also shows that the emergence has a genetic factor as well.”

According to the specialist, although it is more common than one might imagine, the condition is often confused with obesity. Many women try to lose weight by all methods, go on a diet, do physical exercises, but are not able to reduce fat on their legs, which leads to great frustration.

“There are specific differences between diseases, women with lipedema have a disproportionate body, with more fat accumulation in the extremities of the body, not in the trunk. There are thin women who suffer from this disease as well.”

Diagnosis is clinical, made through the patient’s clinical history and physical examination, and other tests may be ordered to rule out other diseases. Lipedema can be classified into five different types, depending on the location, and into 4 stages, taking into account the severity of the disease. Treatment should be individual and multidisciplinary.

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signs of illness

A body disproportionate to the lower part is larger than the upper part

– localized pain

Weight in legs

– swollen

– bruises

Difficulty climbing stairs and/or walking

Difficulties and discomfort in wearing pants

Lack of results with the introduction of diets and physical exercises

treatment or treatment

There are two types of treatment for lipedema, medical and surgical. the doctor includes a balanced and personalized diet, taking into account the peculiarities of the patient and starting with the inclusion of anti-inflammatory foods; Low-impact physical exercise, especially water activities. In addition, lymphatic drainage and the use of compression stockings are included.

On the other hand, the surgery is performed via liposuction and should be performed by a qualified doctor such as a plastic surgeon.

Dr. Patricia Lyra emphasizes that, regardless of treatment, the assistance of a multidisciplinary team, consisting of a vascular specialist, a vascular surgeon, a plastic surgeon, a dermatologist, a gynecologist, an endocrinologist, a dietician, a physiotherapist, and in some cases , a psychiatrist.