Lipedema is a chronic disease which is characterized by a chronic disproportional distribution of the subcutaneous fat accompanied with pain, the feeling of heaviness and discomfort. The disproportional increase in fat occurs most often in the legs and sometimes also in the arms and is an important criterion for this disease. It is important to differentiate lipedema from obesity, because lipedema is often incorrectly diagnosed as obesity and wrongly treated. Many patients try “diet and exercise” but experience the jo-jo-effect gaining weight again.
Whereas mismatch of waist-to-height/waist-to-hip ratio can be observed in case of lipedema the case of obesity patients experience BMI increase.
Furthermore, in contrast to lymphedema edema is only a minor symptom of lipedema since it is only present in a small subgroup of lipedema patients.
In contrast to the traditional view now experts agree that lipedema usually is not progressive.
Nevertheless, obesity is often progressive. If obesity is progressive, lipedema can get worse and maybe hormonal changes play a role.
Lipedema is a chronic condition which needs an individual holistic treatment approach focusing on patient’s needs and enabling daily functioning. Thereby self-management is very important.
Important corner stones of lipedema treatment are skin care and protection, pain management and compression therapy. In addition, regular exercises, most suitable for each patient, have to be integrated into the daily life.
MLD has been reported to have a positive psychological effect.
Furthermore, relaxation (yoga, mindfulness training) and psychotherapy are helpful. Liposuction is suitable only for some patient groups.
Optimizing the health situation, avoiding risk factors and continues lipedema treatment are essential to manage lipedema.