What Is Lipedema?
Thought to be largely hereditary, lipedema is a condition that results in lower extremities (occasionally involving the upper extremities too) that appear disproportionately bulky and fatty as compared to the rest of the body. Lipedema patients are almost always women.
Fat deposits associated with lipedema typically remain limited to the legs and buttocks, although fat may also accumulate in the upper extremities in more advanced stages. Venous issues can appear in later stages of lipedema such as venous insufficiencies, varicose vein development and venous stasis dermatitis (dark blue/brown discoloration around ankles). Although lipedema can be physically painful and cause emotional and physical discomfort and limitations, the condition is usually not dangerous or harmful unless it reaches the end of the spectrum with marked lymphedema (tissue swelling) and venous insufficiency and congestion and possible deep vein thrombosis (clotting). Finding appropriate clothing is a significant issue due to the disproportion upper versus lower body. Unfortunately, the fat associated with lipedema is typically unresponsive to dieting and exercise.