–Carol Rowsemitt, Ph.D., RN, FNP, is a nurse practitioner who focuses on weight loss. She helps her patients by prescribing medications for appetite suppression as well as covering nutritional strategies to decrease insulin levels, thus aiding attempts weight loss attempts in San Luis Obispo. She has released a report about the fat disorder known as lipedema. Through attending Obesity Medicine Association conferences and discussions with colleagues, she has learned why this condition is so rarely diagnosed.
Lipedema is a condition that occurs almost exclusively in women. Fat is usually distributed in the buttocks and legs and is very different from other people’s weight. It seems impossible to lose because it is different. The name “lipedema” comes from the combination of “Lip” for fat and “edema,” which is swelling caused by excess fluid.
The characteristics of lipedema include:
- Fat distribution usually from the waist down, equal on both sides. Sometimes it’s in the arms, but generally, people find they take a smaller size in tops and a significantly larger size in pants or skirts.
- Often tender to the touch.
- Bruises easily.
- The fat can be lumpy or granular.
- The fat does not extend into the feet. There may be a clear line, like a cuff, at the bottom of the calves. (Over time, the feet can become swollen but that means that lymphedema has become an additional problem.)
- Onset usually during times of hormonal changes: puberty, pregnancy, or menopause.
- Lipedema can be inherited about 90-percent of the time and passes through the maternal line.
- Often accompanied by low metabolism/hypothyroidism
- Calorie restriction does not reduce lipedema fat.
Catherine SEO, Ph.D., co-director of the Lipedema Project, and Leslyn Keith, OTD, have found ketogenic diets are effective for helping people with lipedema lose weight.
So, why is lipedema so rarely diagnosed? Rowsemitt said, “I learned that most health care providers don’t even know it exists.” Rowsemitt said one of the things she has learned is that Lipedema isn’t taught in medical schools, which is a factor making it hard to diagnose. “At the encouragement of my friend and associate, Leslyn Keith, a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD), I got involved in the Lipedema Project.”
The Lipedema Project is a comprehensive program working to increase awareness and provide education, research, and treatment for lipedema. The project is a collaborative partnership between the Friedman Center for Lymphedema Research and Treatment at The Center for Advanced Medicine at Northwell Health and Lipedema.
Contact Carol Rowesmitt for answers to questions about Lipedema and for additional resources.
Carol Rowsemitt, Ph.D., RN, FNP-C, has a unique understanding of the physiological reasons people have trouble losing weight. She specializes in helping patients understand that their battle with weight loss is more than a matter of will power. Her practice and treatment regimen accounts for the biological changes in brain chemistry that are a determining factor in the effectiveness of a person’s weight loss. Rowsemitt gained unique insight into the factors of weight gain from her studies and work as a biologist before acquiring her nursing degrees. Rowsemitt received her Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in chemistry from Boston University, her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Utah, then went on to achieve first a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Utah, then her Master’s degree in nursing with an emphasis in diabetes care.
Rowsemitt currently works with Dr. Steven J. McAllen, as her supervising physician. Dr. McAllen, a graduate of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, is an internal medicine specialist in Templeton, CA and has been practicing medicine since 1986.
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