Getting a Diagnosis
Getting a correct diagnosis for Lipoedema is the first step to moving forward and living well with the condition; with many people finding it embarrassing and difficult to talk to their doctor about their symptoms. As a progressive condition it’s important to obtain an early diagnosis since this can make a real difference in how you and your GP manage your symptoms and the long term effects that Lipoedema may have on your lifestyle
Sadly, Lipoedema is commonly mis-diagnosed as obesity or Lymphedema however as awareness for the condition increases, so does the numbers of correct diagnosis.
Do you need help contacting your GP?
If you think you might have Lipoedema and have not yet approached your doctor or received a diagnosis you can download a Letter for your GP here:
Factors considered when making a diagnosis of lipoedema
- Disproportionately larger legs and hips compared to the upper body
- Symmetrical enlargement of the legs, buttocks and arms
- Fat deposition at the knees, buttocks and sparing of the feet.
- Hands and feet are not affected by fat deposition
- Loss of ankle shape
- Affected areas are often soft and cold to the touch
- Tenderness, pain or hypersensitivity when pressure is applied to the affected tissue
- Loose, floppy connective tissues around the knee joints
- Easy or spontaneous bruising to the affected tissue
- Patients may report increased swelling in hot weather
Tips for talking with your doctor and receiving a diagnosis.
You may feel anxious about approaching your doctor, particularly if health care professionals have not been supportive about your lipoedema problems in the past. Here are some tips to help you when it comes to talking with your doctor and receiving a diagnosis.
- Take a close friend or family member with you; they could take notes for you
- Choose a GP who knows you and is easy to talk with
- If you have weight problems, anticipate that the doctor may want to focus on this. You might want to acknowledge that you have weight to lose and how you are working towards a healthy way of living
- Avoid raising lots of issues in one appointment. Be realistic about what you can achieve in 10 minutes. Write down some points to discuss, or questions and concerns to refer to when in the consultation
- Give them our Talk Lipoedema leaflet, tell them about our website (there is a section for professionals), or give them the GP letter of introduction available here
- Don’t expect the doctor to read your mind. Ask for the help you think you need.
We often hear that health professionals mistake the word you are using when you say lipoedema, and believe you mean lymphoedema. Bear in mind, that many health professionals have not yet heard of lipoedema, if this is the case try downloading our ‘letter for your GP’.