The illness known as lipedema is frequently misdiagnosed and misunderstood. The excessive buildup of fat in the legs and occasionally the arms, but not the feet or hands, is the hallmark of this chronic illness, which primarily affects women. It may result in discomfort, swelliness, and issues with mobility, which will lower one’s quality of life. A balanced diet and way of living can help control the symptoms of lipedema even if there is no known treatment for the illness.
The complicated, chronic condition known as lipedema primarily affects women and, if addressed, can worsen over time. Unfortunately, by untrained medical practitioners who are not familiar with lipedema, many signs of this illness are misdiagnosed as obesity-related or lifestyle-related problems. At Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, California, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz is committed to making sure his patients receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment, including advice on dietary choices and exercise specifically designed for lipedema patients. Fortunately, women can find the assistance they need there.
What Is Lipedema?A condition of inflammatory fat cells and disproportional fat accumulation, particularly in the lower half of the body, is known as lipedema or lipoedema. Fat accumulates in the tissues of the hips, pelvis, and legs as a result of this condition, which predominantly affects women. Oddly, it doesn’t affect the hands or feet. When compared to their upper bodies, women with lipedema have bigger hips and legs. Although it may at first appear to be fat, the swelling of the legs can cause excruciating discomfort and even paralysis. Hormonal changes associated with menstrual cycles or menopause may exacerbate the symptoms.
Symptoms Of Lipedema
Adipose tissue or body fat would be distributed unevenly in the lower bodies of the majority of women with lipedema. Although not all women must experience them, there are several more frequent symptoms that might go along with lipedema. These symptoms may include, according to the Genetic And Rare Diseases Information Centre (GARD).
Lymphedema: Lymphedema, or swelling brought on by a blockage of lymph fluid, may develop as the illness worsens in the lower limbs and hip region.
Fibrosis: Lymph circulation may be further hampered by fibrosis, or the development of scar tissue, in the fat deposits as a result of chronic inflammation in lipedema.
Immobility: As the illness worsens, the swelling, weight, and agony in your legs may cause joint damage and alter your stride, making it impossible to walk at all.
Cold Skin: It may seem colder to the touch to touch the skin of the hips and legs that are affected than the rest of the body.
Cuffing At Wrist Or Ankle: Since the hands and feet are unaffected by lipedema, the enlarged legs and arms may seem shackled, especially in advanced stages of the condition.
Hard Nodules: When the skin is rubbed, pea-sized hard nodules or lumps of fat can be felt.
Upper Arm Fat: A third of women who have lipedema may also have extra fat accumulating in their upper arms.
Easy Bruising: Your body’s afflicted areas may bruise readily. This bruising might be caused by tiny spider veins that are near to the skin’s surface.
Painful Fat: The excess fat that has accumulated in the hips and legs may become sensitive to pressure and uncomfortable to the touch.
What is Lipedema DietA good diet can significantly affect lipedema symptoms, according to research. Consuming foods that are low in inflammatory and glycemic index, high in fiber, and abundant in antioxidants is part of a lipedema diet. Additionally, it’s critical to maintain hydration and abstain from items that can make lipedema symptoms worse.
HydrationAlthough maintaining hydration is crucial for general health, treating lipedema symptoms is of particular importance. Drinking enough of water can assist to improve circulation and minimize swelling and discomfort by lowering inflammation.
Antioxidant-rich FoodsAntioxidants are crucial for lowering inflammation and defending cells against deterioration. The symptoms of lipedema can be controlled by eating foods strong in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, and nuts.
High Fiber FoodsFiber is crucial for controlling the signs and symptoms of lipedema because it helps to enhance gut health and reduce inflammation. Consuming high-fiber meals including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can aid with lipedema symptoms management.
Healthy FatsHealthy fats are crucial for general wellbeing, which includes treating the symptoms of lipedema. Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods, such fish, nuts, and seeds, can help lower inflammation and enhance circulation.
Low Inflammation DietLipedema’s symptoms can be controlled by lowering inflammation, which is a major contributor to the disorder. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil are all part of a low-inflammatory diet.
What Is The Best Diet For Lipedema?
Even if your disease might not get better right away, there are several foods that could make lipedema go worse. You should abstain from consuming:
- Products made using refined or processed flour (like white tortillas or bread)
- (Beef jerky, smoked meat, canned meat) Foods that are highly processed and salty
- Carbohydrates and simple sugars (such as white rice, pasta, potatoes, honey, and cereals)
- High-fat animal flesh (bacon, sausage, and red meat)
- dairy items that have been pasteurized (milk, cheese, yogurt)
Many people with lipedema have found that adopting the ketogenic diet significantly improves their symptoms in addition to these simple dietary adjustments. A ketogenic diet limits the consumption of all carbs, including sugar, rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, and the majority of fruits. As a result, your body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis when fat replaces glucose as the main energy source for your body.
Foods to Avoid
It is crucial to avoid specific meals as much as you can since they might aggravate the symptoms of lipedema. Processed foods, sugary foods, alcohol, salty foods, trans fats, and red meat are some of these foods.
Processed meals can cause weight gain and inflammation, which can exacerbate the symptoms of lipedema. They are frequently heavy in calories, sugar, and harmful fats. Desserts, candies, and beverages with added sugar can all be rich in calories, cause inflammation, and weight gain.
Alcohol may be heavy in calories and sugar, which can aggravate the symptoms of lipedema by causing inflammation and dehydration. High-sodium meals can cause water retention and swelling, which can exacerbate the symptoms of lipedema. These items include canned soups, processed meats, and snack foods.
Trans fats, which are frequently included in fried meals, baked goods, certain margarine, and spreads, are known to enhance the symptoms of lipedema and to cause inflammation in the body. Finally, red meat can exacerbate the symptoms of lipedema since it frequently contains high levels of saturated fat, which can cause inflammation and weight gain.
Even while it might not be essential to entirely cut certain foods out of your diet, doing so might help control the symptoms of lipedema and enhance general health. Instead, concentrate on eating a range of full, nutrient-dense meals, such as whole grains, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Benefits Of The Lipedema DietAlthough there is little direct proof, a few small studies, clinical trials, and anecdotal data point to the possibility that a ketogenic diet may help lessen the accumulation of fat, pain, and discomfort related to lipedema.
Help Improve Mental HealthWomen who have been given a lipedema diagnosis have reported feeling down, unmotivated, and sad. Additionally, discomfort and immobility have an impact on their mental health. It has been shown that the ketogenic diet can help treat mental health issues including sadness and anxiety. For women who are dealing with the long-term impacts of lipedema on their health, this may assist to enhance their quality of life.
Help Remove Excess SaltThe increased fat tissue in the legs and hips of women with lipedema often has salt concentrations that are greater. By reducing insulin and releasing water weight, a ketogenic diet also aids in salt loss.
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Helps Remove Excess FluidThe removal of water from tissues may aid women with lipedema by reducing water retention and the resulting swelling of the limbs. According to a research on persons with obesity and lymphedema, a ketogenic diet was proven efficient in lowering the amount of lymph fluid retention in their afflicted limbs. The ketogenic diet has a diuretic impact, commencing loss of water weight in the first few days followed by fat-weight loss.
Help Reduce Pain And InflammationFat-related lipedema discomfort may be brought on by inflammation and allodynia (nerve pain). Numerous studies have demonstrated that a ketogenic diet lessens chronic and inflammatory pain brought on by excess weight and obesity. A few research on animals point to the ketogenic diet’s favorable effects in decreasing inflammation and allodynia.
Help Reduce Fluid RetentionAllodynia (nerve pain) and inflammation may be to blame for the discomfort brought on by lipedema fat. According to several studies, a ketogenic diet lessens chronic and inflammatory discomfort brought on by excess weight and obesity. The ketogenic diet may also be helpful in lowering inflammation and allodynia, according to a few animal studies.
The Best Exercise For Lipedema
Although the uncomfortable accumulation of fat may prohibit you from engaging in any intense activity, maintaining a reasonably active lifestyle is essential to assisting in the reduction of the discomfort and symptoms. The lymph fluid and fat deposits may be moved about with even light walking and leg motions, which will lessen their irritation and pain.
Women who have lipedema in its early stages should continue to lead active lives. Even 45 minutes of easy walking four to five times a week could be beneficial. However, women who are subsequently diagnosed with lipedema may find it difficult to walk because of the pain brought on by the accumulation of fat in their lower bodies.
Light aquatic workouts like swimming or low-impact water aerobics may offer some assistance in these circumstances. Water helps the body move by providing buoyancy and some degree of compression, which also helps to channel the lymph circulation. Few women also exercise on vibration plates or rebounders, which are little trampolines, to reduce lipedema.
Other therapies for lipedema include manual lymph drainage, physical therapy, massage therapy, compression therapy (with or without vibration), and liposuction (the surgical removal of subcutaneous fat).
Regular low-impact activity and adherence to the lipedema diet may help lessen certain symptoms and improve management of this illness.