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What are the symptoms of lipedema?

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Quick Answer

The symptoms of lipedema include a much larger lower part of the body than the top, with column-like legs that may be painful and tender, according to WebMD. The condition affects up to 11 percent of all women.

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Full Answer

Lipedema patients have fat that is distributed unequally throughout the lower part of the body, WebMD reports. Women may wear a much smaller blouse size than their pants size. The condition often begins as a cosmetic concern, but over time, it can create health problems as well.

As the fat continues to build up, the lower body begins to have a difficult time removing lymph fluid, which causes swelling and tenderness, WebMD reports. If lymphedema is not treated, patients may lose the ability to move their legs or develop infections.

Treatment options, as of 2015, include a specialized type of liposuction that removes diseased tissues, WebMD explains. Several treatments may be required, depending on the amount of tissue that must be removed.

Another type of treatment, called decongestive therapy, involves a massage technique that helps to improve the lymph flow, WebMD states. It is combined with compression garments to help keep the fluid from building up again as well as exercise to help with mobility.

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