What’s the Difference Between Lymphoedema and Lipodema?

Lympheodema and Lipodema are diseases of the lymphatic system. They are different from one another and we’d like to define each one of these health disorders today, with a mind to educating you. Once you do understand the differences, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of these health issues. Our guide is not designed to be a substitute for proper medical care. If you have concerns about your health, please see your doctor.

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is also known as lymphatic obstruction and it’s a health issue whereby extra fluid, known as lymph, pools in tissues. This pooling of fluid causes a form of swelling which is referred to as edema. This disorder is triggered by blockages within the lympathic system. Usually, it is present in one arm or one (or both) legs.

Signs & Symptoms of Lymphoedema

This disorder is typically signaled by swelling in a section of, or all of, one arm or one leg. It may be present in both legs. People who suffer from this condition tends to feel sensations of tightness and heaviness in afflicted body parts. As well, they may notice that their range of mobility is not as good as it used to be. Aching is also common, in affected body parts, and recurring infections may happen also. As well, most people notice that this skin covering the affected areas is harder and thicker than it should be. This hardening/thickening is known as Fibrosis.

Summary of Lymphoedema Symptoms

  • Tightness
  • Heaviness
  • Swelling in one arm, one leg or both legs
  • Thickening/hardening of skin
  • Recurring infections
  • Decreased range of mobility

What is Lipoedema?

Liopedema may also be referred to as “painful fat” syndrome and it’s a chronic affliction which is more common in women. When this disease happen, excess fatty tissue in the hips, upper legs and lower legs grows in a symmetrical fashion. Swelling is usually pronounced in affected areas and this swelling may get worse when a person is standing up.

Signs & Symptoms of Lipoedema

Most people who have this disorder notice larger lower halves and their legs may have a column-like appearance. As well, affected areas may be quite tender and bruising may happen more readily than it does in non-affected areas. This disorder causes some major asymmetry. For example, a woman may have a top half which is a size 6 and a bottom half which is a size 12.

When the condition gets worse, fat build-up escalates and the lower half of the body gets heavier. As the disorder progresses, fat of the lipoedemic type may collect within each arm.

Eventually, this condition may lead to lymph vessels which are blocked by fat cells. This means that the lympathic system can’t function properly and fight infections as effectively as it should. Lymph fluid will build up and then trigger swelling.

Summary of Lipodema Symptoms

  • Larger lower half
  • Easier bruising in affected areas
  • Fat build-up in lower half and possibly the arms, too
  • Swelling
  • Fibrosis
  • Impaired lymph system

See Your Doctor Today

Now that you know more about these conditions, be sure to visit your doctor if you have any symptoms. It’s important to access proper medical care. Both conditions may be serious and only a licensed and trained physician will know how to help. It’s best to seek out treatment early, as soon as swelling or excess fat storage becomes noticeable. As well, to prevent disorders of the lymphatic system, be sure to drink a lot of pure water every day and get regular exercise. As well, you may want to consider lymphatic massage and other treatments which help to boost lymphatic system function

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