Could I have Lipedema?
Lipedema is a medical, long-term, chronic condition that is the accumulation of abnormal fat (adipose tissue) and is unrelated to diet. It particularly affects the lower limbs; however, it can also impact the arms. It appears to affect women only and there currently is not a cure. There has been an increase in awareness about lipedema which has led some women who struggle with their weight/body shape to wonder if they could be affected by this condition.
Lipedema sufferers often relate to the following:
- Excess weight on the legs, particularly thighs/buttocks/hips, and sometimes the arms
- Pain and/or discomfort in the skin/tissues of the legs and/or arms (if affected)
- Shape disproportion, that is a narrower waist with larger hips and thighs - making buying clothes a real problem
- No obvious change in the feet and/or hands - they appear normal
- Losing weight and exercising appears to make no real difference to the size of the legs/arms
- Affected areas tend to bruise more easily for no apparent reason
- Other (female) members of the family may also suffer from similar problems
What should I do if I suspect I have lipedema?
Obtaining a diagnosis and realizing that the adipose tissue that causes lipedema is ‘not your fault’, can be the first step in helping keep your lipedema under control. Book an appointment with your healthcare professional to discuss your symptoms and the impact they are having on your life. Some healthcare professionals may not be aware of lipedema, so we recommend you bring information about this condition to your appointment. Organizations such as the Fat Disorders Resource Society and the Lipedema Foundation are great places to find more information.
We look forward to helping you with your onward journey by providing educational information - look out for more information about lipedema on LymphCare. You may also find it helpful to gain support and advice from others who are living with lipedema, by sharing experiences in the forum. LymphCare is free to join so if you haven’t already, click here!
Listen to Lucinda’s story as she shares her experiences of managing her lymphedema and lipedema.