By Tracie White
Researchers have identified a molecule that ties lipedema to other lymphatic diseases, such as lymphedema, and distinguishes it from obesity.
Lipedema is part of a family of medical problems called fat disorders and is often confused with obesity, said Stanley Rockson, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine and the Allan and Tia Neill Professor of Lymphatic Research and Medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine. It causes fatty tissue to collect in the lower portion of the body, primarily the hips, but can affect the arms as well. It is often triggered by hormonal changes in women, particularly after life events such as puberty or pregnancy, or during menopause, but it also has a potential genetic component. Until recently, little was known about its scientific underpinnings.
Now, for the first time, Rockson and his colleagues have uncovered a biomarker — in this case, a particular molecule that can be detected in patients — that confirms that lipedema is related to other lymphatic diseases, such as lymphedema, distinguishing it from obesity.
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