Lipedema is a disease that affects up to 11% of women, and is identified as an uneven distribution of diseased fat in specific parts of the body that is not responsive to diet or weight loss, and is currently largely unrecognized by doctors, patients and insurance companies.
Because Lipedema is common and the symptoms can go un noticed for so long (or be mistaken for simple obesity) it is not recognized by many doctors. Lipedema causes extreme pain and other issues for women. The main problem space for this topic is awareness of the disease (among both doctors as well as patients) and the strength of the community of women who have it. Many women experience difficulties communicating with their doctor and having this issue recognized, while other women simply do not know that the cause for their fat in the body could be a direct cause of Lipedema. Often they lack the community to feel supported in their day to day activities, fights with insurance companies, and various treatment methods.
This project is personal to me, as my mom was diagnosed with lipedema in her arms and legs last year after struggling with mild obesity her whole life. When she was younger, she always wondered why the fat in her arms and legs wouldn’t go away even after avid mountain biking, exercising and clean eating. Because the fat in these areas is not only hard to get rid of, but also painful, it can lead to other issues such as joint pain and swelling. She has suffered with health issues her whole life, and now at age 49 has finally become aware of Lipedema and has gone through the process of filing claims with her insurance company in order to have surgery covered, and after much effort and difficulty she has finally had her first Liposuction surgery to begin to rid her body of diseased Lipedema fat. My mom participates in many facebook groups, which she has greatfully shared with me in order to gain insight into the community spaces that exist already. These places serve as a very active community full of discussion across a broad range of topics concerning Lipedema.
How can I design a platform/ app to better develop a sense of community among lipedema patients, and what benefits can this bring to the lives of individual patients and to the group as a whole in the medical community?
Lipedema is a largely unknown and often difficult disease to diagnose, creating a difficult situation for women in their personal & healthcare communities. There is a lack of an empowered community, because of the sensitive nature of the subject, as well as a lack of awareness in the medical community.
Communication among patients plays a vital role in the health and wellbeing of women with rare diseases such as Lipedema. My aim is to create a platform for dialoge between women with Lipedema, in order to create a dynamic sharing place for stories, advice, research, and emotional support.
Research + Brand Identity + App Design
Adobe Illustrator + Indesign