Lipedema is a loose connective tissue disease that primarily affects females. It is characterized by abnormal fat metabolism and accumulation of enlarged fat cells with disproportionate distribution of fat on the body. The fat tissue is usually painful, bruises easily and may have palpable nodules within it and the person may have hypermobile joints. The fatty soft tissue is loose and tends to form a “shelf” or “cuff” at the wrists or ankles. There is also poor connective tissue support for the both the soft tissue and the vasculature, which can lead to chronic lymphedema and Chronic Venous Disease (CVD). Fortunately, Medical Compression Stockings (MCS) can help provide structure and support for the soft tissues and vasculature, helping to reduce symptoms and disease progression.
Lipedema is poorly understood and grossly under recognized by the medical community and general public. Often mistaken as obesity, women who have lipedema are often blamed for the problem and told to lose weight through diet and exercise. However, diet and exercise will not reduce the fat of lipedema, although it can help the person feel better and minimize the progression and complications. Complications of untreated lipedema include CVD, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and lipolymphedema. MCS are an important intervention in each of these diseases.