By Thomas Wright MD FACPh FACP
For patients with lipedema, the impact of delayed diagnosis and treatment can be ruinous. So why are we letting it happen?
It’s been said that lipedema is not rare, but the diagnosis is rarely made. Given lipedema’s high prevalence, progressive nature and potentially devastating effects on patient health and quality of life, the infrequency with which this chronic, incurable condition is detected and diagnosed by clinicians is a significant medical problem.
As vascular physicians, we occupy the front trenches in combating the disease and need to arm ourselves with information, empathy and management options for our patients.
As the name suggests, lipedema is swelling due to the pathological accumulation of subcutaneous fat, primarily in the extremities. Unlike lymphedema, it occurs almost exclusively in women and is marked by symmetrical limb swelling, most commonly in the legs, absent swelling in the hands, feet or trunk.
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