Saturday, February 7, 2015

Lipedema, Lymphedema and Fat Legs


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The 4 main causes for enlarging leg girth or circumference are lipedema (accumulation of fat in the legs), lymphedema (obstruction of lymph flow in the leg), obesity and impaired venous blood circulation (venous stasis). Lymphedema is observed as swelling that usually involves the feet and shows up as impaired flow on lymphangiograms or lymphoscintigraphy . With time the swelling becomes hard and uncompressible and the skin breaks down and becomes infected. Impaired venous circulation is observed as swelling with brown darkening of the skin color, skin break down and inflammation. The blocked veins are visualized by doppler sonography studies using sound waves transmitted through the skin. This blog will focus on lipedema also known as lipoedema in Europe.

The areas of fat concentration tend to be abdominal in aging men, hips and thighs in aging women and buttocks in certain races as those individuals age. The age at which this occurs varies from person to person. Changes in metabolism and fat deposition can also occur more quickly at puberty, after childbirth, gynecologic surgery, with the onset of thyroid disease or menopause. It is easier to lose fat from areas in which your body tends to not concentrate fat. The fat doesn't go to one place and then another as in first, second etc.. It goes all over but more of it is stored in specific areas and it is mobilized from other areas more easily. In some cases the concentration can be dramatic such as very large buttocks with skinny arms and legs, steatopygia, which is more common in certain African tribes.



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