Today we will discuss Lipedema more in-depth; this is a condition increasingly more acknowledged among women, and about which there is increasing knowledge. If you are here because you think you can suffer Lipedema, or because you want to learn more about this condition, you have reached the right place to get informed. It is very likely that you have not been adequately diagnosed if you have not consulted a specialist in the matter. If you click here, we will take you to an article about the diagnosis and testing for Lipedema.
Let’s start FROM the beginning. Lipedema is a little-known condition even among medical professionals, and that is why you might not have a clear diagnosis because it is usually mistaken for Obesity or Cellulitis.
In this specific article, we will explain the stages and types of Lipedema known so far. You might identify yourself with any of them, if you think you can suffer from this condition.
The first thing you should know is that there is no generally accepted classification of Lipedema. The most globally acknowledged classification divides Lipedema into three stages based on tissue structure and skin texture. Severity is assessed according to the visible skin surface and examination through palpation; even if the skin surface still looks smooth in the first stage, this does not mean that the patients are not suffering any discomfort, heaviness, and even pain.
We can classify it into 3 stages:
- STAGE 1 LIPEDEMA:
The skin surface appears smooth, but the subcutaneous fatty tissue is enlarged. The fatty structure presents fine nodules, as can be seen in the image. This is usually the grade when it is more difficult to diagnose Lipedema.
- STAGE 2 LIPEDEMA:
In this stage 2, the skin surface is irregular, with lumps and depressions. The fatty structure presents thicker nodules. You can see the difference between Stages 1 and 2 by comparing the images.
- STAGE 3 LIPEDEMA:
Let’s move on to the last and tougher stage. In this case, the tissue is harder and coarser. Besides, there is formation of bags with thick lobular shape in the skin. We attach the image of a patient with Stage 3 so that you can have a better idea of what we discussed.
After seeing and explaining the Lipedema stages, we will now dive into the existing types of Lipedema. As we have seen, the skin and tissue characteristics are taken into account for the subclassification into stages; however, the main criterion for classification into types is based on the body areas involved. This is an essential aspect in order to determine the type of condition suffered.
Which are the types of currently existing Lipedema?
- TYPE 1 LIPEDEMA: Fat builds up mainly in the area of buttocks and hips, causing what is commonly known as “saddlebags”. This type 1 can be mistaken for cellulitis.
- TYPE 2 LIPEDEMA: Its characteristic is that Lipedema has extended towards the knees and builds up significantly in the back side of the knees. This will usually cause discomfort at the time of moving the legs and is usually associated with pain.
- TYPE 3 LIPEDEMA: One of the most common types. Lipedema extends from the hips to the ankles. Lipedema is classified as Type 3 when fat builds up along the entire leg. Some leg areas can present more volume than others.
- TYPE 4 LIPEDEMA: Lipedema also affects the arms, without wrist involvement. The same as with ankles and feet, there is perfect differentiation between wrists and hands.