Lipedema presents as having bigger buttocks, hips, legs (stopping at the ankle) and often arms in comparison to the rest of the body. The hands and feet are unaffected.
The Lipedema fat areas bruise easily and are either tender, painful or cause a debilitating feeling of heaviness.
Lipedema fat is unresponsive to diet and exercise (women who are successful in weight loss, including with bariatric surgical interventions, do not experience proportional weight loss in areas with lipedema fat.)
The inability to lose weight leads to co-morbidities such as eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia, etc.,) gait disorders, osteoarthritis, early knee replacements, back pain, loss of mobility, obesity (obesity related illness) depression and suicidal inclinations. In later stages, secondary lymphedema developes due to untreated, primary Lipedema. Once this happens, it is referred to as “lipo-lymphedema.”
Lipedema is an inherited, chronic and progressive disease. The body shape may seem to “run in your family” and gets worse with hormonal disruptions (i.e. puberty, pregnancy, menopause, gynecological procedures, etc.)