June is Lipedema Awareness Month. We are helping raise awareness about this misunderstood and misdiagnosed condition, as well as how it is often confused with lymphedema. Take a look at our infographic and look through some additional resources to learn more about lipedema.
Our team has been working with lipedema experts in the private sector and non-profit organizations to learn more about this condition that is sometimes referred to as, “the disease they call fat.” Estimates of people living with lipedema are as high as 11% of the female adult population, which would equate to roughly 17 million people in the U.S. and 350 million worldwide.
According to The Lipedema Project: “Lipedema is a relatively common fat disorder that is often mistaken for simple obesity. Its clinical diagnosis is an adipose tissue disorder or a lipid metabolism disorder. A typical lipedema patient is a woman who struggles with large hips and legs, usually out of proportion to the rest of her body. Lipedema also appears in the upper arms. One of the hallmarks of the disease is that lipedema fat is relatively unresponsive to diet and exercise. These measures may lead to weight loss in other areas, but the size of the hips and legs remains disproportionately large.”
Symptoms of lipedema include bilateral/symmetrical swelling of the legs and hips extending down to the ankles. There are four stages of the condition, with swelling increasing progressively. There are also five types of lipedema, as the condition affects different areas of the body in different people.
Due to the presence of swelling in the legs and lower body, as well as sometimes in the upper body, lipedema can be confused with and even diagnosed as lymphedema. Lymphedema is a disorder of the lymphatic system and swelling is caused by dysfunction of the flow of lymph fluid throughout the body. Lipedema does not involve the lymphatic system, but the symptoms may be similar.
View our infographic below for more information about these two different conditions.
Also, use the links below to learn more about various aspects of lipedema, including treatment options, patient stories, statistics, and support groups.
The Lipedema Project: A 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2014 by Dr. Mark L. Smith and Catherine Seo, PhD to initiate research and treatment for lipedema. The organization’s “About Lymphedema” page is particularly insightful.
The Lymphedema & Lipedema Center: Founded by Dr. Jay W. Granzow to provide comprehensive and effective treatment for lymphedema and lipedema patients.
Lipedema Foundation: Another 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2015 to fund collaborative research that addresses the biology, genetics, and epidemiology of lyipedema.