What you Need to Know About Lipedema

photo of legs of someone with lipedema
photo of legs of someone with lipedema

Lipedema primarily affects women, causing legs or arms to become disproportionately larger than the rest of the body, with growing deposits of fat that are resistant to diet or exercise.

Common stages of lipedema

Lipedema is a chronic, progressive condition. That means it cannot be cured, and often gets worse over time. However, when identified early and treated consistently with in-office and at-home treatments, lipedema symptoms can be managed effectively.

Doctors have identified four common stages of lipedema. You can be diagnosed and treated at any stage.

Stage 0

Your legs may begin to feel achy or heavy.

Stage 1

Your skin feels smooth, but there are fat deposits that cause small lumps under the skin. Your legs feel achy and heavy.

Stage 2

Lumps in your tissue grow in number and size as lipedema tissue builds up. Your skin may have indentations.

Stage 3

Your lipedema tissue increases and becomes thick and hard. Large growths of fat hang around thighs and knees.

Common symptoms of Lipedema

Lipedema typically appears with one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Legs (sometimes arms) disproportionately larger than the rest of the body
  • Leg pain
  • Tenderness
  • Easy bruising
  • Small, lumpy fat deposits under the skin
  • Skin indentations
  • Skin changes
  • Swelling and inflammation

Swelling may increase as lipedema progresses, causing lipolymphedema. This can be managed through complete decongestive therapy or an at-home pneumatic compression device. If your swelling persists or gets worse, talk to your doctor about the possibility of lipolymphedema.

You can take control of your lipedema or lipolymphedema swelling and discomfort by carefully following the treatment plan outlined by your doctor.