Many people with lipoedema find it difficult and embarrassing to discuss their symptoms with their doctor, but getting diagnosed as early as possible is important so that the doctor and patient can work together to prevent the symptoms getting any worse.
Lack of knowledge about lipoedema throughout the medical profession means that the symptoms are often mistaken for lymphoedema or obesity and if left undiagnosed it is possible that lipoedema can develop into lipo-lymphoedema.
A number of factors are taken into consideration when making a formal diagnosis of Lipoedema:
- Disproportionately larger/fatter legs and hips compared to the upper body
- Swelling is symmetrical (both sides of the body are affected equally)
- Hands and feet are not affected
- Loose, floppy connective tissues around the knee joints
- Fat that looks like cellulite and feels soft
- Tenderness/pain and easy or spontaneous bruising to affected areas
- Skin of affected areas may be pale and cold
- Upper arms may also be disproportionately fatter
- Patients may report increased swelling in hot weather