Potential Confusables – Lipedema, Lymphedema & Obesity

Similar Yet Different

There are 3 health conditions in which there are similarities, yet have differentiating factors about their characteristics that helps a doctor as well as any allied health team member understand the uniqueness of the health condition and provides direction towards treatment with the individual who has that health condition. The 3 health conditions under review in this post are: Lipedema, Lymphedema, and Obesity.

Definitions Please …

Lipedema (which is sometimes known as a painful fat syndrome) is a chronic disease that occurs mostly in females. It’s features are bilateral, symmetrical excess fatty tissue, mainly in the hip region, upper and lower leg areas and combined with a tendency for leg swelling that worsens with standing. It may also occur in the arms.

Lymphedema is a condition that occurs when lymph fluid is not able to flow through the body the way it should due to lymphatic system damage. It may be either primary or secondary lymphedema.

Obesity occurs where there is excess body far that has accumulated and may have consequences on the health of other systems in the body.

So Why Mention These Three Health Conditions?

Because if the clinical signs or symptoms are not recognized in each, then the condition, for example Lipedema, may be misrepresented as being Obese. It is important for the allied health care provider to be aware of the clinical signs and symptoms and this can be done by listening during the intake history as well as on-going education in understanding the conditions as well as attending education events, such as the one being held July 3 to 6 by Lipedema Alberta to raise the awareness of Lipedema for doctors, surgeons, allied health professionals and providing the opportunity to start partnered collaboration with all health providers, so that we can work together to improve the lives of those living with Lipedema.

Follow Us …

To learn about our Lipedema Wellness Program coming Fall 2017.


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