What is lipedema?

How do I know if it’s lipedema?

While lipedema and lymphedema might sound like the same thing, they are actually two very different medical conditions. How can you know the difference between lipedema and lymphedema? In this article, we’ll focus on lipedema. Our next article will cover lymphedema.

What is lipedema?

We all have fat cells, which help insulate and cushion our body. Lipedema is an abnormal accumulation of fat cells, usually in the legs or arms. It tends to affect women more than men, and starts around puberty or other hormonal changes. While we don’t yet fully understand the cause of lipedema, it’s believed to be related to genetics and hormonal changes.


What does lipedema feel like?

Lipedema can be painful. The affected areas may bruise easily for no apparent reason, swell up, or feel tender.

Lipedema is not obesity. Normally, the fat cells tend to be distributed evenly throughout the body. With lipedema the fat collects in specific areas of the body, and symmetrically. So you may see both legs affected, or both arms affected.

BoxBar Vascular can help with lipedema!

At BoxBar Vascular we specialize in vascular care, including diagnosing lipedema. There isn’t a specific test for lipedema. However, there are several diagnostic tests that we perform at BoxBar Vascular. The results of those tests, combined with a physical exam, help us to make a diagnosis. Since venous disease can be a contributing factor to lipedema symptoms, we can recommend lifestyle changes and even perform inpatient medical procedures to help alleviate venous insufficiency that may be contributing to your lipedema.

Dr. Ellen Derrick, the founder of BoxBar Vascular, has been providing venous care in Seattle for decades. Have you been dealing with lipedema? We can help. Book an appointment with us today, and start your road to recovery.