Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Until recently cellulite was considered a solely cosmetic condition. Now, research has shown that changes over time in the body's skin structure actually lead to the transformation of fat cells into cellulite. And that falls into a medical condition.
Cellulite develops in five stages, described below:
Blood microcirculation, venous flow, and/or lymphatic drainage to the subcutaneous layer are impaired. Reduced blood microcirculation starves and weakens the surrounding tissue, making it more susceptible to cellulite. Reduced venous flow translates to higher fluid retention and pooling of the blood. Reduced lymphatic drainage means that lymph fluids, which normally carry waste away from the cells, are trapped in the area. The septae connective tissue may begin to become more fibrous. In this stage, all of the changes are not visible to the naked eye. There may not be any other symptoms, with the possible exception of cuts and bruises taking longer to heal because of the impaired circulation.
Once circulation is lessened, the capillaries and veins become weakened and leak blood into the surrounding tissue. This increases the pressure in the tissue, and restricts circulation and fluid drainage even more. In this stage, you may notice thicker and more tender skin than normal, as well as discoloration or broken veins. The skin may also bruise more easily. However, there is no appearance of the lumpy cellulite bumps yet.
After a few months of lymphatic fluid build up, the fat tissue become swollen and begin to push against the outer skin In this stage, the first signs of lumps and the "orange peel" look appear.
The stagnant lymphatic fluid cause the fibrous septae to congeal into thicker fibers. Cells starved of oxygen and nutrients may also become incorporated into these fibers, thus adding to the fibers' thickness. These fibers begin to trap and squeeze the fat cells, which press on the surrounding tissue and reduce even more circulation in the area. Because of the lack of circulation, the skin may feel cold to the touch.
Because of the high pressure, blood circulation is re-routed around the cellulite area. Septae fibers continue to grow to an extent that the fat cells are completely trapped. Although fat continues to be stored in these cells, it is not efficiently removed from it (through exercise or diet) because of the poor circulation. In this stage, the thick fibers, trapped fat cells, and stagnant fluids form a huge honeycomb structure called steatomes. This causes large lumps and bumps that are the hallmarks of cellulite.
Aside from the poor blood circulation, excessive cellulite maybe caused:
* On lower portion of stomach. It's thought to be linked to digestive disorders. Indeed, many women with stomach cellulite have irritable bowel, constipation, or liver disorders.
* Neck. Constant stress is thought to increase the likelihood of a cellulite accumulation or fatty lump in the back of the neck. Prolonged stress can manifest in tension in neck muscle, leading to misaligned vertebrae and inflammed tissue. In turn, this inflammation can cause fluid retention which can lead to cellulite formation. Fortunately it's not one of the most noticeble places.
* Upper arm. Cellulite in the upper arm usually occurs in older women, and is usually associated with cellulite in the leg. It is thought to be triggered by reduced venous flow or impaired vein systems in the arm.
The predisposition to cellulite seems to be genetically inherited also, just like a lot of other disorders. Some people simply have more fat cells, weak veins, fragile lymphatic vessels, poor circulation or hormonal sensitivity. And stress can be a cause too. Prolonged stress and the associated increased surge of adrenaline, can actually lead to increased fat storage in the stomach, hips, buttocks, and thighs.
And last, but not least. Smoking. Everyone knows that smoking is a health hazard. But it is not widely known that cigarette smoking can also lead to cellulite. Cigarette smoke contains free radicals or highly charged oxygen molecules that are very damaging to vein and capillary walls, causing inflammation and leaking. Furthermore, cigarette's nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and can also cause small blood vessels to constrict, and thus reduce microcirculation.