Expert Explains Lipedema Diagnosis and Treatment

Lipedema or lipoedema (European spelling) is an incurable, chronically progressive affliction that occurs almost exclusively in women. It causes a symmetrical accumulation of fat in the subcutaneous tissue that disproportionately affects the lower limbs from buttocks to ankles. The legs may also be sensitive and prone to easy bruising. In some cases, the upper arms can also accumulate distinct patterns of fatty tissue.

Lipedema is little known, under recognized, and generally misdiagnosed as simple obesity. Despite the fact that it’s been named for over 75 years, it is only recently that interest and education about lipedema is gaining in awareness. Estimates of the incidence of lipedema vary widely, and range as high as 11% of the post-pubertal female population, with estimates of 17 million women in the US, and 370 million women worldwide affected.