How is Lipedema Diagnosed?

A lipedema-trained physician, using history and physical examination, can diagnose lipedema if a constellation of many signs and symptoms are present:

Excess symmetric fat on hips and legs; feet are spared

Disproportionate fat in legs compared to trunk and abdomen

Arms can be affected, but not as severe; hands are spared

Hands, feet and head exhibit minimal fat deposits showing stark contrast to other areas

Fat is not responsive to caloric restriction, weight loss and/or exercise

Activity (recreational endurance) and activities of daily living become limited

Minimal pitting edema

Persistent enlargement of legs despite elevation, medications or weight loss

Pain and/or tenderness on palpation, disproportionate to exam

Vascular fragility, easy bruisability

Hypothermia of the skin, complaints of cold extremities despite environment

Palpable nodules of fat (marbled texture)

Joint pain in knees and hips in later stages from malalignment due to excessive fatty tissue.

Formal diagnosis by a trained physician will not provide specific insurance or medical benefits; it will, however, often lead to significant emotional peace for the patients, as well as an increase in knowledge and treatment options.

Different Types of Body Parts Affected

Used with permission. Courtesy LipedemaProject.org

Lipedema Stages

Used with permission. Courtesy Lipedema-Simplified.org

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