Lipedema is a chronic condition that occurs almost exclusively in women and manifests as symmetrical buildup of painful fat and swelling in the limbs, sparing the hands and feet.
There are no definitive diagnostic tests for Lipedema.
It is often misdiagnosed as obesity, lymphedema, Dercum’s disease, or chronic venous insufficiency.
It may be accompanied by an unusual texture within the fat that can feel like rice, peas, or walnuts beneath the surface of the skin.
The intensity of pain may range from none to severe, and its frequency may be constant, come and go, or only occur when the fat is pushed on.
Limited public awareness of Lipedema, coupled with few research-backed treatments, can lead to exacerbation of symptoms as well as physical and emotional distress.
Common symptoms include fatigue, muscle pain, heaviness in the affected areas or easy bruising.
The Lymphedema Foundation supports collaborative research that addresses the basic biology, genetics, and epidemiology of Lipedema to Define, Diagnose, and Develop Treatments for Lipedema.
Research article Standard of Care in the United States
Although Lipedema was first described in the 1940’s, many research questions remain unanswered. A critical issue is the poorly understood disease biology, which for diagnosed patients results in limited treatment options that, at best, relieve the symptoms of Lipedema.
Thus, more research is needed to determine and understand the biological processes affected in Lipedema patients.
Individuals who suffer from the disease are further impacted by the absence of diagnostic tools, the lack of public and medical awareness of Lipedema, and the stigma associated with weight gain.
As a result, the true number of women with Lipedema, or its epidemiology, is unknown.
Diagnosing Lipedema involves taking the medical history and performing a physical examination of the affected individual.
As the field lacks a diagnostic test, clinicians consider multiple criteria to determine whether an individual has Lipedema.
Those with Lipedema should be assessed for Lipedema, Lymphedema, Posture, Balance, Muscle Strength, Gait, and Joint Hypermobility by a therapist with certified lymphedema therapist (CLT) training
Standard manual therapy for lipedema includes soft tissue mobilization to reduce pain, inflammation and musculoskeletal restrictions, and manual lymphatic drainage as part of an individualized comprehensive therapy program to stimulate lymphatic flow and reduce edema.
Lipedema tissue should be mobilized deeper with myofascial release, other manual techniques or instrument assisted soft tissue therapy to reduce fibrotic restrictions and improve the interstitial space while considering patient tolerance and tissue integrity.
These therapies do not harm the lymphatic system.
The goals of treating Lipedema are to: Reduce inflammation, manage pain, improve lymphatic flow, receive emotional support, and help the body deal with Lipedema.
An Insurance receipt will be issued after each treatment
She has a vast knowledge in Myofascial Release, Musculoskeletal restrictions and Lymphedema disorders.
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During a Lipedema treatment a combination of manual lymphatic drainage, myofascial release, vibration massage, lymphatic cupping and kinesio taping may be used depending on the specific needs of your body.
Patricia herself has been diagnosed with Lipedema and is always on the lookout for new modalities, new interventions how to deal and live with this, at times frustrating condition.
Sharing her experiences, insecurities and struggles may be a support to others.
Many people are struggling with this condition that is mainly labelled as being fat or obese but we know better!
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You will want to find a therapist who is willing to learn about Lipedema or has Lipedema and are local to you and most importantly: He or She is Certified in Lymphedema Disorders.
Patricia van Poppel is a 550+ hour Certified Lymphedema Therapist, 1800 Hour Structural Integration Therapist and 2200 Hour Registered Massage Therapist.