Managing lipoedema in a primary care setting

Written by: | Published:

Lipodema can cause a significant psychological burden for those affected

Lipoedema is a distinct, infrequently recognised disorder of adipose tissue that occurs almost exclusively in women. First described by Allan and Hines in 1940 as ‘a syndrome characterised by fat legs and orthostatic oedema’ (a choice of vocabulary that would be unacceptable today, but still has resonance in contemporary practice), it can cause massive, bilateral symmetrical enlargement of the lower and in some cases, the upper extremities.1 Affected individuals develop orthostatic oedema, pain across the legs, frequent bruising and often crippling joint pain. The disproportionate increase in leg circumference in relation to a slender torso cannot be reversed by physical exercise and diet, and the course is mostly progressive. Lipoedema is frequently misdiagnosed in primary and secondary care, and patients are regularly being told that they are overweight, triggering a never ending cycle of diets and exercising regimes, without visible improvement, causing significant psychological harm. Even when lipodema is diagnosed correctly, finding appropriate care in the UK is difficult due to variations in the referral pathways and geographical clinic availability.2


Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.


What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.