Lipomas are noncancerous tumors that develop gradually in your body's fat cells. Typically, people with these tumors only notice them after they grow for years. Doctors don't know exactly why lipomas form. Still, while diet is not a specific cause of these tumors, certain factors related to diet can potentially increase your lipoma risks.
Lipomas are the single most common form of noncancerous, or benign, tumors in adult U.S. populations, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. While you can develop a lipoma at any age, they frequently occur in people between the ages of 40 and 60. Common locations for these tumors include your arms, back, shoulders and neck. In most cases, they appear as flattened, round lumps beneath the surface of your skin that move when you touch them. The consistency of a lipoma can be rubber-like or softer and doughy.
Your chances of developing a lipoma increase if you are obese, Drugs.com reports. In many cases, obesity stems from excessive calorie consumption in your daily diet. If you gain weight quickly, any existing lipomas on your body might increase in size. If you drink large amounts of any type of alcohol, you can increase your risks for the development of multiple lipomas; excess alcohol consumption can also increase your risks for becoming obese. In addition, you have increased lipoma risks if you have difficulty controlling your blood sugar. In many cases, blood sugar control problems stem from obesity or consumption of a nutritionally poor diet.
Additional Risk Factors
Apart from dietary factors, your risks for developing a lipoma rise if you receive a blunt injury to your soft tissues, especially those tissues located in your upper or lower legs, Drugs.com notes. In some cases, people with lipomas were born with certain forms of genetic damage that trigger tumor formation. Gender also plays a role in lipoma development. Men tend to develop multiple lipomas, a condition sometimes referred to as lipomatosis. Women tend to develop single, isolated lipomas.
Talk to your doctor about lipomas if you are obese, regularly consume alcohol or have difficulty controlling your blood sugar. In addition, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that you tell your doctor about any new or unusual skin lumps. Lipomas differ from a rare form of fat-based cancer called liposarcoma, the New Zealand Dermatological Society says. While lipomas tend to form just below your skin, liposarcomas tend to form in deeper tissue. However, if you have a lipoma that causes significant pain or increases in size, the society recommends that you see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.