For many sufferers, getting a lipedema diagnosis is especially difficult. Recent studies show that, on average, sufferers wait between 15 and 18 years to receive their diagnosis. Lipedema is a progressive condition, and so the disease worsens significantly during that time. Many patients only receive an accurate diagnosis years after they show symptoms, which means their condition is very advanced. They are more likely to have a poor quality of life and experience significant pain and mobility problems. Not only that, they’re also likely to have poor mental health after waiting for so long for a diagnosis. So, why is it so difficult to diagnose this condition correctly?
A Lack of Medical Knowledge
The first identification of lipedema as a medical condition took place in the 1940s. Yet, despite the many decades in between, there has been very little research into the disease. Medical students also receive little general education about the lymphatics system during their training. It isn’t too surprising, then, that many doctors have never even heard of lipedema. Those who have often cannot name or spot the symptoms of lipedema in patients.
Also Read – What Triggers Lipedema?
Difficult to Spot Symptoms
One of the reasons why doctors struggle to diagnose patients with lipedema is that the symptoms aren’t especially obvious. In fact, they’re very similar to those seen in other conditions. Lipedema symptoms are very like those seen in people with lymphedema or obesity. Swelling is a typical sign of lymphedema, while patients with obesity often have large limbs. In the early stages of lipedema, it’s very easy to mistake the condition for a different disease. The obvious signs of lipedema don’t appear until the disease is more advanced. That is the main reason why patients often wait a long time for an accurate diagnosis. Doctors often waste time investigating whether sufferers have other medical problems or treating them incorrectly. During that wasted time, the disease continues to worsen and progress.
The Benefits of an Early Diagnosis
The sooner patients get an accurate diagnosis of lipedema, the earlier they can get treatment. That is especially important in cases of lipedema, as the condition is progressive and worsens with time. Earlier treatment means better outcomes for sufferers. They will need shorter and fewer surgical procedures while also avoiding the worst symptoms of the disease. Lipedema causes severe pain and mobility problems for sufferers when they enter the later stages of the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment enable sufferers to avoid experiencing these distressing severe symptoms.
To get an early diagnosis patients need to find a lipedema specialist. It’s imperative to seek out a specialist in this condition instead of visiting your family doctor. Generally, physicians simply cannot spot the symptoms of lipedema. They cannot give you the early diagnosis that you need. A specialist, on the other hand, has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the disease. They know how to spot it and treat it immediately, saving you time, discomfort, and distress.
If you need a lipedema diagnosis, get in touch with Dr. Su at ArtLipo. He is a specialist in this field and can help you get the diagnosis and treatment you need.
Dr. Hamwi is an aesthetic plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic surgical and non-invasive procedures. After completing residencies in both plastic surgery and general surgery as well as a fellowship at Harvard University, Dr. Hamwi then went on to pursue an aesthetic surgery fellowship at one of the country’s most competitive programs in Manhattan, New York. Less than one percent of plastic surgeons have completed such specialized training.