When you first notice any signs or symptoms of lipoedema, your general practitioner (GP) is usually the one you refer to. The basic diagnostics for lipoedema focus on your past medical history and a physical examination of your body. Your GP will probably refer you to a specialist to interpret the results or confirm the diagnosis.
Physicians or nurses should have specific training to diagnose and treat lipoedema.
Physicians often come from the following specialties:
- General medicine – a specialty for diseases of the inner organs
- Dermatology – a specialty for medical conditions 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. Lipoedema treatment usually requires a team of different specialties that may include:
- 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 medical condition such as lipoedema
- A surgeon in case bariatric surgery or liposuction needs to be discussed
Depending on your conditions severity, your HCP may also refer you to a specialised clinic for the first weeks of your treatment. Clinics for lymphoedema and lipoedema have the advantage that all specialties work together in one place.
HCPs from different specialties should work together. Any changes in your signs and symptoms of lipedema may require an adjustment to your treatment plan. An understanding of your condition helps you notice any changes in your condition and makes it easier for you to share these with your HCP.
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Claudia Lymphoedema patient