Friday, October 2, 2009

Health Care and Cellulite

Jello. Ever see it wiggle? Does it make you cringe when you see that same effect on parts of your body like your legs, thighs, and buttocks? Cellulite is that condition of the human body where the skin of the lower limbs, abdomen, and pelvic region becomes dimpled after puberty, according to Wikipedia. This appearance is much more common in women than in men because of differences in the way fat, muscle, and connective tissue are distributed in men and women's skin, according to MedicineNet.com. The lumpiness of cellulite is caused by fat deposits that push and distort the connective tissues beneath skin, leading to the characteristic changes in appearance of the skin. Cellulite is not related to the condition known as cellulitis, which is a spreading bacterial infection of the skin and tissues beneath the skin.

According to MedicineNet.com, the dimpled appearance of cellulite can be considered to be a normal variant -- one way that many perfectly normal human beings look. Heredity, skin thickness, gender, the amount and distribution of body fat, and age can all influence the extent to which cellulite is present or visible. While cellulite is more common in women than men, men can also be affected. Cellulite occurs in people of all races living all around the globe. Although female hormones may play a role in contributing to this pattern of fat distribution, cellulite is not treatable by hormone therapy.

According to MedicalNewsToday.com, cellulite is often classified using three grades. Grade 1 classification sees no clinical symptoms, but a microscopic examination of cells from the area detects underlying anatomical changes. Grade 2 cellulite requires the skin to show pallor (pastiness), be lower temperature, and have decreased elasticity in addition to anatomical changes noted by microscopic examinations. Grade 3 cellulite has visible roughness of the skin (like an orange peel) along with all grade 2 signs. The causes of cellulite are not well understood, but there are several theories that have been put forth as explanations. Among these are:
1.) Hormonal factors - hormones likely play an important role in cellulite development. Many believe estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin are part of the cellulite production process.
2.) Genetics - certain genes are required for cellulite development. Genes may predispose an individual to particular characteristics associated with cellulite, such as gender, race, slow metabolism, distribution of fat just underneath the skin, and circulatory insufficiency.
3.) Diet - people who eat too much fat, carbohydrates, or salt and too little fiber are likely to have greater amounts of cellulite.
4.) Lifestyle factors - cellulite may be more prevalent in smokers, those who do not exercise, and those who sit or stand in one position for long periods of time.
5.) Clothing - underwear with tight elastic across the buttocks (limiting blood flow) may contribute to the formation of cellulite.

According to ManageCellulite.com, 90% of post-adolescent women go on to develop cellulite at some time during their life although it is very hardly ever seen in men. Although it is often mistaken for obesity, cellulite is not actually obesity related because it can also take place in thin lean women. Underneath the dermis and epidermis are three specific layers of fat. Cellulite tends to develop in the subcutaneous fat layers. This layer of fat is unique in its structure compared to the other layers because its fatty parts are structured into specific chambers by strands of linked tissue around it. Hormones also help out with the storage of fat along with the body's metabolism in the subcutaneous fat layer.

Hormonal factors such as estrogen and folliculine also play a role in cellulite formation, according to ManageCellulite.com. Cellulite is for the most part found in women during their hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause and also while taking birth control pills. A woman's hormones are usually responsible for the regulation of their blood flow, fat, connective tissue and lymphatic drainage. The fat cells between the two reserve fat layers situated under the subcutaneous fat layer dissolve into a slack network. A person's genetic makeup predicts their fat storage and metabolism in these layers which are predisposed by diet, exercise, and lifestyle. These layers have no responsibility for cellulite forming on a person's body. The subcutaneous fat layer in a woman is organized into large upright chambers allowing fat to be stored. In men, these chambers are organized into small slanting units. These store smaller fat quantities and are not likely to form cellulite. Cellulite's formation is a result of complex physiological changes that occur in the subcutaneous fat layer. Regular exercise and well balanced diets do not always reverse or prevent its formation, although an unhealthy lifestyle will make the overall appearance worse over time due to poor nutrition, weight gain and lack of sufficient water intake.

According to ManageCellulite.com, with age there is a loss in the thickness and tone of the connective tissue in the superficial fat layer and the dermis. Unfortunately noticeable, flaccid cellulite is the result. There are a wide variety of products on the market today which claim to remedy cellulite. Many do not perform what they claim and as it's not known or clear which do and don't work, it is very easy to become sucked in to buying expensive mistakes. Many products consist of topical treatments which alone are ineffective in the treatment of cellulite. There are also creams available which contain herbs, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. These assist the skin to become softer, healthier and smoother and allow it to repair itself more easily. Creams which contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories are more effective when treating cellulite as they stimulate the flow of blood. The areas which are affected by cellulite are usually dry and damaged therefore needing additional moisture, increased blood supply and protection. The appearance of cellulite can be reduced temporarily by increasing moisture to the affected area. It needs to be remembered cellulite needs to be treated from the inside as well as the outside. Of course, some women prefer to use cosmetic surgery to reduce their cellulite. While some methods like liposuction aren't really advised for cellulite, other therapies like mesotherapy and endermologie are very popular and quite effective.

According to the Mayo Clinic, cellulite isn't a serious medical condition and treatment isn't necessary. In fact, many doctors consider cellulite a normal occurrence. However, if you're concerned about the appearance of your skin, see your doctor or a dermatologist. Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your appointment. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For cellulite, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
--What is the best course of action?
--What are my treatment options and the pros and cons for each?
--What will the treatments cost? Does medical insurance cover these costs?
--What results can I expect?
--What kind of follow-up, if any, should I expect?

In summary, according to MedicineNet.com, eating a healthy diet and keeping muscles toned by regular exercise seem like reasonable approaches to keeping the body as taut and smooth as it can be. Patients should be very cautious before trying out surgical procedures, dietary supplements, or elaborate techniques of unproven value. While the FDA has approved massage and combined laser/massage therapies, it is important to remember that these costly and time-consuming treatments are approved only for the temporary decrease in the appearance of cellulite and require ongoing treatments to maintain any effect. Yet, according to the Mayo Clinic, perhaps the most promising medical therapy is lasers and radiofrequency systems. One system uses combined negative tissue massage, radiofrequency and infrared light to treat cellulite. The other system delivers combined tissue massage with diode laser energy. Both systems offer improvements to cellulite after a series of several twice-weekly treatments. Results may last up to six months. There is no way to prevent getting cellulite. Keeping off excess pounds and strengthening your muscles through regular exercise, however, can go a long way toward maintaining your skin tone and texture.

Although cellulite is commonly seen as an embarrassing condition, there is no real health care concern--just social issues surrounding this skin situation. When it becomes awkward, then you may wish to find ways to alleviate cellulite by some of the more recommended medical treatments and with diet and exercise.

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Tony Raz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.