June is Lipedema Awareness Month

June is recognized annually as Lipedema Awareness Month, which is an important 30-day block of time set aside to truly reflect on and react to this highly underdiagnosed condition. Understood as a chronic adipose tissue disorder, Lipedema is estimated to affect up to 11% of women across the globe. Symptoms of Lipedema often include disproportionate acumulation of fat deposits in the lower extremities including on the hips, knees, calves, and thighs. While the condition presents in three stages of severity, it’s often accompanied by pain in the surrounding soft tissue as well as significant swelling. In the most severe cases of Lipedema, mobility can be hindered as a result of increased fat deposits that do not respond to diet or exercise. Fatigue is often an associated side effect related to difficulty with mobility as a result of Lipedema.

The vast majority of patients suffering from Lipedema are initially told that the ever-increasing and disproportionate build-up of fat cells in their extremities is due to obesity or lack of a consistent diet and exercise routine. This can be an extremely frustrating misdiagnosis for those individuals who have been committed to keeping health a priority, only to see their condition worsen over time. It’s thought that up to 91% of all health care providers don’t recognize Lipedema when they see it in a patient. This statistic largely revolves around the fact that while Lipedema was first categorized in 1940, it is still rarely a primary subject of study throughout the course of medical schooling. Unfortunately, this can mean that misdiagnosed patients are faced with undergoing treatments, services, and following recommendations that aren’t beneficial or application to their medical condition. June is the month to take an important and closer look at this progressive disorder.

Unfortunately, a solid cause behind the development of Lipedema is still unknown, making research surrounding the condition that much more imperative. Many physicians believe that it may be linked to a genetic predisposition or may have something to do with severe hormonal fluctuations women face during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause. Lipedema is often confused for Lymphedema which affects only one side of the body and can include swelling and fat deposits in the hands and feet as well.

During the month of June, be sure to take time to closely consider the symptoms and impact of Lipedema and reach out for expert advice from Dr. Wright and his team at Lipedema.Net for more information. The Fat Disorders Resource Society is also a great source of information for up-to-date research and events pertaining to Lipedema throughout the year. Similarly, the Lipedema Foundation provides comprehensive literature related to recent research surrounding Lipedema.

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