Lipedema is a chronic, uncurable, often painful condition with an excessive increase in adipose tissue on the legs, hips, buttocks and / or arms. Due to a disturbance in the lymphatic system, tissue fluid is insufficiently drained and painful swellings (lymphedema) develop.
What are lipedema symptoms?
The first symptoms of lipedema are disproportionately heavy legs, hips, buttocks and / or arms where excess fat tissue stops abruptly at the knees or ankles or at the elbows or wrists. Weight loss has little effect on the disproportionate fat and moisture build-up. Upper and lower body can vary by two to three sizes.
Lipedema tissue is sensitive, the pain can range from mild to extreme with a slight touch or pressure already not tolerated. The skin looks walnut-like as an extreme form of cellulite (orange peel). Bruises develop quickly.
Heavy and swollen legs
Legs feel heavy and swollen from fluid build-up (more information can be found on our Lymphedema page). The volume can lead to joint problems, such as knee problems, and the skin of the legs can be damaged by abrasion.
Fatigue and limited mobility
Patients suffer from fatigue and are sometimes limited in their mobility. This can affect their daily functioning and lead to social isolation, psychosocial complaints and obesity.
Diagnosis of lipedema
It is best to approach a general practitioner or medical specialist for a diagnosis and a health profile. Sometimes it is desirable to involve other (para) doctors in addition to a skin therapist, such as a dietician, a psychologist or a surgeon. Surgical surgery in the form of liposuction can improve the functionality of the body at an advanced stage, reduce pain and swelling and improve your physical appearance and quality of life.
Causes of lipedema
There is still much uncertainty about the development of lipedema. It is known that the disease occurs more in women than in men and that the disease is not caused by overeating. Moreover, it has been established that hereditary factors play an important role.
Lipedema generally develops during or just after puberty, but the condition can also occur during pregnancy or later life.
Treatment of lipedema
Reimbursement by health insurers
Edema therapy is (partly) reimbursed by most insurance companies. Ask your skin therapist for advice if you are unsure whether a certain treatment is reimbursed