Taking the plunge with lipoedema

Women wait decades for an accurate diagnosis of lipoedema. Earlier diagnosis is essential to prevent the condition progressing to lymphoedema, with its risk of life-threatening cellulitis.

Walking in water tones the legs without putting stress on the knee joints

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Women with lipoedema live with the condition for an average of 30 years before being diagnosed, according to a survey in 2014.

The survey of 240 patients by the charity Lipoedema UK found that lymphoedema nurse specialists were most likely to make the diagnosis.

Swollen limbs are a sign of both lipoedema and lymphoedema, but there are significant differences, says Christine Wise, a lymphoedema nurse specialist who works in private practice.

Lipoedema is an abnormal accumulation of fat in the body; the cause is unknown but there is believed to be a genetic component, says Ms Wise.

Fat is typically deposited in the lower body in both legs in a symmetrical way, but the arms can also be affected. Feet are not usually affected. The skin on the


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