Lipedema is a relatively common fat disorder, mainly affecting women, often mistaken for simple obesity. In reality, the clinical diagnosis is an adipose (fat or fatty) tissue disorder or a lipid metabolism disorder (processing of fat by the body). It is estimated to affect up to 11% (1 out of 9) women globally.
Typically, lipedema patients are women with large hips and legs, usually out of proportion to the rest of their bodies. Lipedema can also appear in the upper arms. Some women experience swelling, pain, bruising or sensitivity of their legs. One of the hallmarks of this disease is that lipedema fat is relatively resistant to genuine efforts at diet and exercise. These measures may lead to weight loss in other areas, but the size of the hips and legs remains disproportionately large.