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A detailed medical history is essential for a diagnosis. The patient’s case history is examined more closely. Lipedema can be inherited so that symptoms typical of lipedema can also have occurred in other family members. On the one hand, characteristic is the time it occurred, on the other hand, the afflicted persons usually already show the mentioned disproportions between upper and lower body. The physician then closely inspects and palpates the affected body parts. Moreover, further imaging techniques, such as sonography (ultrasound) can be used.

Lipedema is often not even recognized or misdiagnosed as adiposity (obesity). In contrast to adiposity, which involves a generalised increase in fatty tissue of the whole body, diet or increased movement do not promise any success in the case of lipedema. If lipedema remains untreated, a mixture of lipedema and lymphedema can develop. In case of lymphedema the back of the foot and toes also show swelling indicating the additional occurrence of lymphedema.