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The Lipedema

Lipedema is lipodystrophy accompanied by edema and pain. It develops as a result of a symmetrical increase in subcutaneous fatty tissue of predominantly the lower, in 30% of cases also of the upper extremities. In the case of this disease the adipose cells are enlarged and increase in numbers. The disease usually begins after puberty or pregnancy. Lipedema is a progressing disease that spreads in time and occurs almost exclusively in women. It is therefore assumed that, besides heredity, also hormonal causes are responsible for lipedema. Mostly only the legs, in some cases arms and legs and more rarely only the arms are affected.

Apart from the increase in subcutaneous fatty tissue there exists a disturbed porousness of the capillaries and consequently an increasing fluid volume reaches interstitial tissue from the vascular system. The disturbance is also the reason for an increased tendency on the part of the patient to develop bruises (haematoma). Due to the increased fluid supply the lymphatic vessel system, which functions normal at first, reacts by an increase in lymph transport. Due to the permanent strain on the vessels, the vessel walls change and thus reduce transport activity. When the resulting lymph cannot be transported, edema is the result.