(Health Secrets Newsletter) Lipedema, also known as painful fat syndrome, is an abnormal swelling in the lower portion of the body caused by accumulation of fat and fluid in the tissues just under the skin. This condition is caused by an uneven distribution of fat cells affecting the abdomen, hips, and legs. Thus, a person suffering from lipedema may appear to be obese, but only in the lower portions of the body. Although this condition affects the sufferer in many ways, there are steps that can be taken to control its symptoms.
Although lipedema and lymphedema are often confused, they can be differentiated by the fact that lymphedema usually affects only one limb, such as an arm or a leg, while lipedema affects only the lower portion of the body, and affects both legs at the same time. Another characteristic of lipedema is that it does not affect the feet. A ring forms at the base of the ankle where you can see the swelling stop. Lipedema often causes bruising and bleeding beneath the skin. Lymphedema does not. Lipedema often involves pain, primarily in the shin area. This is due to chronic lymph blockage resulting in storage of fluid in the connective tissue.
Other symptoms include:
*Heaviness in legs due to increased tissue weight and accumulation of fluid.
*Swollen legs, most often caused by accumulation of fluid due to prolonged standing or sitting. Prolonged sitting or standing can also cause the feet to swell. People affected by this condition often have difficulty putting on their shoes in the afternoon.
*Orange tint on skin and cellulitis caused by the special structure and loosening of tissue.
*Bruising of certain parts of the body due to fat cells placing pressure on the blood vessels.
*Pain in legs and sensitivity to touch caused by lymph blockage that leads to hardening of tissues.
*Degeneration of joints caused by joint stress (most often the knee) resulting from excess weight.
It is important to point out that lipedema left untreated can result in secondary lymphedema. Increased weight can cause pressure on the lymphatic system, resulting in a blockage which prevents normal lymphatic flow. It can also result in chronic venous insufficiency and other vascular disorders.
Lipedema is thought to be an inherited condition and although it occurs almost exclusively in women, men can also be affected. This condition also has psychological and emotional repercussions, as individuals suffering from lipedema are often accused of just being “fat”. It is a difficult condition to live with because exercise and change of diet have no effect in weight reduction. It should be pointed out, however, that even though diet does not affect weight reduction, it is still very important to eat healthy foods.
Lipedema is a condition that must be treated continuously. To take a break results in further deterioration.
When addressing lipedema, one should wear loose-fitting clothing, as well as constantly wearing compression tights on the legs. The following actions should also be taken to help relieve lipedema:
*It is very important to exercise the legs. The best form of exercises are taking long walks, cycling (even using an exercise bike), and swimming and/or water exercises. If walking or cycling is not possible, an individual can work themselves up by doing low impact aerobic exercises such as Isometric and stretching exercises (making sure not to over-stretch). If an individual is not used to exercising, it is important to start slowly and work up. A good rule of thumb is to stop before you tire. Manual lymph drainage should be performed once or twice a week. However, it is important to note that one should not rely solely on manual lymph drainage and that kneading massages should be avoided.
*A healthy, balanced diet is crucial. The diet should be primarily gluten-free and eliminate sugar, sweets, junk foods, fast foods, processed foods, white flower, wheat, and unhealthy oils. The best oils are coconut and other tropical oils.
*Avoid scratches. If an avid gardener, beware of thorns found on certain plants. If a pet owner, be extra careful of scratches, for example, from a playful kitten. If manicuring nails, make sure not to cut into the nail wall.
*Opt for natural cosmetics that do not irritate the skin. When bathing, use a soap with an acid pH value in order to prevent dry and cracked skin.
*In the summer season, although getting sunshine is very important, make sure to avoid excess exposure which could result in sunburn.
Herbs and supplements that help to address lipedema are:
*Brown and green seaweed help to expel fluid from the legs.
*Horse chestnut capsules relieve leg pain and swelling.
*Bio-rutin improves circulation and keeps capillaries open. It also stops the bruising and bleeding so common with lipedema.
*Cayenne Pepper will also stop the bleeding caused by lipedema. One teaspoon (or one dropperful of cayenne tincture) in a gulp of juice (no sugar, no additives) should be taken daily or several times a day, depending on severity. If this amount is too much for the beginner, start with a quarter of a teaspoon (or a few drops of tincture) and work up.
*Colloidal silver taken daily helps to prevent infection.