Bottom heavy girls may owe their curves to this crazy disease!

lipodemaThanks to Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, and those smarty pants scientists who discovered that hourglass-shaped women tend to be smarter than their more flaquita counterparts, curvy women have been have a serious moment as of late. As well we should. However, we should also be aware of the not-so-great things that come with being a bootilicious chica. For instance, did you know approximately eleven percent of adult women may be able to attribute their bootiful curves, not to their mamis or McDonalds, but to a dangerous fat disease known as lipodema? Ugh. (Insert expletive here!)

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Lipodema is a little known, oft misunderstood fat disease that causes women to store fat on their hips and thighs. Sound familiar? If it does, don't freak out just yet. Lipodema may cause some women to hold a majority of their weight on their bottom half, but that isn't to say that all bottom heavy women are affected by this painful fat disease. Here is everything you need to know about lipodema.

  1. Lipodema may be inherited, and only affects women.
  2. It affects women of all sizes, from the seriously underweight to the morbidly obese.
  3. It is generally triggered during puberty, but may worsen during or after pregnancy.
  4. Women with lipodema tend to have "column-like" legs, which is to say their legs tend to be the same size all the way from their thighs down to their knees.
  5. Unlike normal fat that just sits there, looking and feeling luscious, lipodemic fat is usually painful to the touch.
  6. Lipodema patients often experience terrible joint pain. If left untreated, lipodema may eventually cause sufferers to become progressively less mobile.
  7. Lipodemic fat is stubborn. You can't burn it off at the gym or have it sucked out via liposuction.
  8. In fact, run of the mill liposuction may actually make things worse. "With standard liposuction you put big cannulas--tubes that allow fluid to be removed--into the deeper tissues and suck out a lot of fat," explains Constantinos Kyriakides, a consultant vascular surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust. "But this can damage lymphatic drainage from the leg." Which, he says, may trigger further swelling--this time in your arms as well as in your legs. Oh, joy!
  9. There is no known cure for lipodema.

Argh! So, what's a girl to do? Well, while doctors have yet to come up with a cure for lipodema, there are treatments available to help manage and lessen the discomfort associated with the disease. Treatment includes:

  1. Lymphatic drainage massage, which involves a physiotherapist manually squeezing fluid out of the fat cells and into the blood vessels.
  2. Patients can also wear compression hosiery to help reduce the amount of fluid present in fat cells.
  3. Low-impact exercise may help to stimulate the movement of fluid.
  4. And, finally, tumescent liposuction, a gentle water-jet-assisted form of liposuction. It's different from conventional lipo in that it preserves the integrity of the lymphatic system while removing adipose tissue.

If any of the above listed symptoms sound familiar, I suggest you go visit your doctor immediately. Though lipodema isn't fatal, it may cause long term problems, such as chronic joint pain. Also, if left untreated, lipodema may eventually cause sufferers to become progressively less mobile.

For more information about lipodema, watch the video provided below:

Image via Corbis

Topics: diseases  diet  fitness  health  healthy eating  healthy habits  overweight  weight loss  weight