Are You Pear Shaped? You May Have Lipoedema

Do you experience the following symptoms?

– Excess weight on your legs

– Heaviness and discomfort of the legs

– Your upper body and lower body are completely different sizes making clothes shopping very difficult

– You have a small waist, but large hips and thighs

– Your excess weight does not include your feet or hands

– You can lose weight from your upper body but not your lower

– Your lower body bruises easily

– Some members of your family are or were a similar shape

You may have a medical condition called Lipoedema

Lipoedema (also spelt Lipedema in the USA),  is a chronic condition that makes you accumulate  fat below the waist, often giving you hips, buttocks and legs that are out of proportion with your upper body. It can also affect your arms.

78% of women with Lipoedema who took part in Lipoedema UK Big Survey 2014 developed symptoms between the ages of 18-25 but only 7% received a diagnosis at that time.  Most took decades to realise they had Lipoedema as they were constantly dismissed by the medical profession and told that the excess fat ‘was their own fault’.

No one knows exactly how many women have lipoedema but as the vast majority of doctors and nurses aren’t trained to recognise lipoedema, many women go their whole lives without obtaining a diagnosis.

What do I do if I think I have Lipoedema?

Obtaining a diagnosis and realising that the adipose tissue that causes Lipoedema’ is not your fault’ can be the first step to keeping Lipoedema under control.  

Many women with Lipoedema lead full and active lives, but it can also lead to a lack of confidence, reduction in mobility and become very debilitating. Reducing the number of calories you consume will not reduce areas affected by lipoedema although it will reduce areas where you have normal fat and may be overweight. Eating a well balanced diet to avoid putting on unnecessary weight is an important step in keeping lipoedema under control.

Keeping fit is essential and choosing low impact exercises such as swimming or cycling  will tone and strenghten muscles without putting excess pressure on your knees and legs.

We recommend that you make an appointment with your GP, to discuss your symptoms and the affect they have on your life. As most GPs are currently unaware of Lipoedema, it is advisable to take along information on the Royal College of GPs elearning course.  

Most GPs refer patients with lipoedema to their local Lymphoedema clinic  where specialist nurses and allied healthcare professionals are trained to advise patients on appropriate treatments and lifestyles.

Lipoedema UK support our members to work with their GPs and healthcare professionals to find treatments available in their area.

Lipoedema UK’s conferences provide our members with the latest information from internationally renowned specialists, surgeons and researchers as well as practical advice and inspiration on exercise. Our member’s events are a great way to meet people who understand the challenges of lipoedema and find friendship and support.

Lipoedema UK’s team of Nurse Consultant Advisors are experts in managing Lipoedema and prescribing compression garments.

Lipoedema UK work with St Georges Hospital, London and Royal Derby Hospital, Nottingham on their genetic research project.

Lipoedema UK initiates our own patient research and co-operate with the Lipedema Foundation and Lipedema Project in the US and other organisations on their research projects.

Lipoedema UK’s mission is to educate all doctors and healthcare professionals to recognise and diagnose Lipoedema, so everyone with Lipoedema receives appropriate advice and care.