How Do You Get Lipedema? Understanding The Causes

Lipedema is a common yet often misunderstood condition that affects millions of people. It’s characterized by swelling, usually in the legs and lower body, but it can also occur in other parts of the body.

If you or someone you know has lipedema, you may be wondering what causes it and how to treat it. In this article, we’ll explore the various causes of lipedema so that you can understand this condition better and seek treatment if necessary.

Lipedema isn’t always easy to spot, since its symptoms can mimic those of other conditions. But understanding the underlying causes can help with diagnosis and treatment. We’ll look at some of the known risk factors for lipedema and provide tips on how to manage your symptoms.

With knowledge comes power – so let’s dive into the world of lipedema!

What Is Lipedema?

Lipedema is a condition that affects the fatty tissue in your legs and arms. It can cause swelling, pain, and an increase in the size of your limbs.

Although it’s not lifethreatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable and difficult to manage.

It’s estimated that up to 11 percent of women have lipedema, but the exact cause remains unknown. Some experts believe that hormonal imbalances or obesity may be the culprit behind lipedema. Others suggest it may be genetic or related to trauma caused by surgery or injury.

Whatever its cause, lipedema is a serious condition that needs to be managed with proper treatment and lifestyle changes. Exercise, dieting, massage therapy, and other treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for those struggling with the condition.

Risk Factors For Developing Lipedema

Lipedema is a chronic medical condition that affects the body’s fat distribution and can cause severe pain and disability if left untreated. While its exact causes are not known, there are risk factors associated with the development of lipedema.

Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of developing lipedema. People who carry extra weight in their midsection and have large amounts of fat around their hips and thighs are at higher risk for this condition.

Additionally, hormonal imbalances due to menopause or other conditions may also increase a person’s likelihood of developing lipedema.

Moreover, people who have family members with lipedema may be more likely to develop it themselves as well. Since genetics can play a role in whether someone develops this disorder, having a family history of lipedema could put individuals at higher risk for developing it too.

It is important to be aware of these risk factors so that people can take steps to prevent the development of lipedema or seek early treatment if they do experience any symptoms. Keeping active, maintaining a healthy diet, and monitoring one’s weight can help reduce the chances that they will develop this condition.

Additionally, addressing any hormonal imbalances as soon as possible is essential as well. By understanding what puts individuals at greater risk for developing lipedema, people can work towards preventing it altogether or getting an early diagnosis if they do experience any symptoms.

Genetics And Lipedema

Genetics and Lipedema have been linked together in recent studies. Researchers have found that, while the exact cause of lipedema is unknown, there are genetic factors that may be associated with it. This means that if someone has a family history of lipedema, they may be at greater risk for developing the condition.

The following table provides an overview of the potential genetic links to lipedema

Genes Link to Lipedema

APOE Exercise related
TNFRSF11B Weight gain
PNPLA3 Fat accumulation/storage in certain areas of the body
ELOVL4 Joint stiffness and swelling in affected areas

Although these genes are associated with lipedema, there is still much research to be done to understand exactly how they contribute to its development. It is important to note that even if you have one or more of these genes, this does not necessarily mean you will develop lipedema. However, it could mean that you are at increased risk and should take extra measures to help prevent it. For instance, engaging in regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your chances of developing lipedema or make symptoms less severe if you already have it.

Ultimately, any association between genetics and lipedema must be further explored before definitive conclusions can be made. By gaining a better understanding of this condition, we can better inform people about their risks and provide them with the resources they need to obtain the best care possible.

Other Potential Causes Of Lipedema

When investigating the potential causes of lipedema, hormonal imbalance and genetics often come up.

Hormonal imbalances can be caused by a number of things, but genetics can be a contributing factor too, making it important to consider both when understanding the causes of lipedema.

Hormonal Imbalance

Envision a body that is carrying extra weight due to an imbalance of hormones.

This can be caused by obesityrelated factors, such as poor diet and lack of physical activity, or medication related issues such as taking certain contraceptives.

These imbalances can lead to lipedema, which is a chronic and painful condition characterized by excessive fat deposition in the lower body.

It’s important to note that while these factors may contribute to lipedema, they aren’t necessarily the only cause; other potential causes exist as well.


So, while hormones and obesity may be factors, they certainly aren’t the only potential causes of lipedema.

Genetics can also play a role in the development of this condition.

For example, some research has suggested that lipedema may be linked to certain genetic mutations in certain genes associated with fat storage or metabolic syndrome.

Additionally, there is evidence that suggests that having a family history of obesity can increase one’s risk for developing lipedema.

Although it’s important to emphasize prevention when it comes to obesity and hormonal imbalances, genetics may still be an underlying factor in many cases of lipedema.

Diagnosing Lipedema

It is important to understand the potential causes of lipedema in order to properly diagnose it. While the exact cause or causes are yet unknown, there are a few suspected contributors that should be taken into account when determining if someone has lipedema.

Some of these include

Traumatic injury Lipedema can sometimes develop after trauma to an area, such as an accident or surgery.
Hormonal imbalance As with many other conditions, hormones can play a role in the development of lipedema. When hormones become unbalanced, they may contribute to the abnormal growth of fat cells.
Genetics It is possible that genetics may play a role in the development of lipedema since it tends to run in families.
Agerelated factors Women over the age of 40 tend to be more at risk for developing lipedema due to changes in hormone levels and metabolism during this time.
Medications Certain medications can have side effects that could contribute to fat cell growth.

In order for a diagnosis of lipedema to be made, your doctor will need to take into account any potential underlying causes as well as any associated symptoms you may be experiencing. If a traumatic injury or hormonal imbalance is identified, additional tests may be necessary in order to confirm the diagnosis and determine an appropriate course of treatment.

Your doctor will also examine your medical history and lifestyle habits in order to rule out any other possible causes for your symptoms.

Treatment Options For Lipedema

Treating lipedema can be challenging, but there are various approaches that can help manage symptoms.

For those who are overweight, the first step is to focus on healthy weight management through lifestyle changes. This includes developing a healthy diet plan and incorporating regular physical activity into your routine.

Additionally, certain medications may be prescribed to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation in affected areas. Compression garments may also be prescribed to provide support for joints and muscles and reduce swelling.

Finally, specialized treatments such as manual lymph drainage massage therapy or infrared light therapy can help reduce pain, discomfort, and swelling associated with lipedema.

No single treatment will work for everyone, so it’s important to work with your doctor or healthcare provider to determine the best approach for you.

It’s also important to remember that because lipedema cannot be cured, ongoing maintenance is essential for managing symptoms over time.

With proper care and lifestyle modifications, you can live a more comfortable life despite having lipedema.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The LongTerm Effects Of Lipedema?

The longterm effects of lipedema can be serious. In some cases, the condition can cause chronic pain and swelling, as well as decreased mobility due to the extra weight in the legs.

Additionally, there are genetic links to lipedema that can increase an individual’s risk of developing the condition.

It is important to take good care of your skin if you have lipedema, as this can help reduce symptoms like swelling and bruising.

It’s also important to make sure you’re getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet, both of which can help manage symptoms.

By understanding the longterm effects of lipedema and taking steps to care for yourself, you’ll be better able to manage this condition.

Are There Any Lifestyle Changes I Can Make To Reduce My Risk Of Getting Lipedema?

Are you wondering if there are any lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of getting lipedema?

Unfortunately, lipedema is something that has a genetic predisposition and can’t necessarily be prevented.

However, research suggests that maintaining a healthy weight and exercise regimen can help reduce the severity of symptoms and the progression of the condition.

If you have excess weight, losing it might be beneficial since it could potentially reduce the amount of fat stored in your lower body.

Additionally, regular exercise may help promote better blood circulation in your legs, which may also help reduce swelling associated with lipedema.

Are There Any Dietary Changes I Can Make To Help Manage Lipedema?

When it comes to managing lipedema, diet can have an important role.

While there is no specific “lipedema diet”, certain dietary changes can help reduce symptoms and improve overall health.

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is recommended, as well as avoiding processed foods with added sugar and saturated fats.

Additionally, exercising regularly and incorporating exercise programs into your lifestyle are key treatment options for managing lipedema.

By making these changes, you may be able to reduce the impact of lipedema on your life.

Are There Any Support Groups Or Resources Available For Those With Lipedema?

Finding the right support for lipedema can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources and support groups available for those with lipedema.

These groups provide emotional support, understanding, and a community of people who are going through similar experiences. There are even online support groups and forums that can help individuals find the help they need.

Whether you’re looking for advice on managing your symptoms or just want to talk to someone in the same situation, these resources can be invaluable in finding the help you need.

Are There Any Other Conditions That Can Be Confused With Lipedema?

Lipedema is a medical condition that can be easily confused with other conditions, such as genetic factors or hormonal imbalances.

It’s important to understand the differences between these conditions so you can make sure you’re receiving the proper diagnosis and treatment.

While lipedema is not caused by any specific genetic factor or hormonal imbalance, it’s possible for those with certain genetic predispositions to be more likely to develop lipedema.

Additionally, hormonal fluctuations may increase your risk of developing this condition.

If you have any questions or concerns about what type of condition you may have, it’s best to speak with your doctor for further evaluation and guidance.


It’s important to understand the causes of lipedema and to be aware of the longterm effects it can have.

While there are no known ways to prevent this condition, there are lifestyle and dietary changes that can help manage it.

Additionally, there are many resources available for those affected by lipedema such as support groups and educational materials.

Lastly, it’s important to note that other conditions such as lymphedema can be mistaken for lipedema, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional.

With this knowledge, we can better understand how to live with and manage lipedema.

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