When you first notice any signs or symptoms of lipedema, your general practitioner (GP) or a nurse is usually the one you refer to. The basic diagnostics for lipedema focus on your medical history and the physical exam of your body. Your GP or a nurse will probably refer you to a specialist for lipedema to interpret the results or confirm the diagnosis.
Physicians or nurses should have a specific training and the appropriate qualification to diagnose and treat lipedema.
Physicians often come from the following specialties:
- Internal medicine – a specialty for diseases of the inner organs.
- Dermatology – a specialty for diseases of the skin, also covering phlebology (diseases of the veins).
- Angiology – a specialty for diseases of the blood vessels.
When your diagnosis is confirmed, your healthcare professional (HCP) will develop a holistic therapy plan to address your signs and symptoms. Lipedema treatment usually requires a team of different specialties that includes:
- A physiotherapist with qualification to perform compression therapy and, if required, Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD).
- A dietician in case you have problems maintaining your weight.
- A psychologist who can teach you how to cope with a long-term disease such as lipedema.
- A surgeon in case bariatric surgery or liposuction is discussed.
- A medical supply store with qualified personnel to get the right compression garments.
Depending on your disease's severity, your HCP may also refer you to a specialized clinic for the first weeks of your treatment. Clinics for lymphedema and lipedema have the advantage that all specialties work together in one place.
HCPs from different specialties must work together. Any changes in your signs and symptoms of lipedema can require an adjustment to your treatment plan. A deep understanding of the disease also helps you notice any changes by yourself and makes it easier to communicate with your HCP.
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