Can you recognise Lipoedema?

by admin / 10 September 2017 / No Comments

Are you one of those women whose legs keep getting bigger – no matter how much you diet and exercise? Do you have the “Fat” disease? 

Nainesh Vasistha

Nainesh Vasistha

Lipoedema is an abnormal build-up of fat cells predominantly distributed in the lower body which is estimated to affect up to 11% females in the UK. The diseased fat cells form a unique and unusual shape, normally from the waist down, to a clear and obvious line above the ankles in a bilateral, symmetrical shape. Symptoms include: tissue enlargement + oedema (swelling), pain, aching, sensitivity to touch, abnormal gait, muscle weakness, joint pain, mobility problems which can then lead onto severe obesity, chronic pain and difficulty with day to day living.

For many patients, it can take decades to realise that they have lipoedema and due to a lack of awareness amongst healthcare professionals, patients can be constantly dismissed by the medical profession over the years and told that the excess fat ‘is their own fault’. Consistent lack of diagnosis can also lead to emotional problems and loss of self-esteem, especially as it is often inferred that the patient’s lifestyle may be a cause of the symptoms.

If you have lipoedema, you could be more prone to getting lymphoedema – the distortion in body shape, especially around the ankles means that the lymph system struggles to drain excess fluid; for the same reasons varicose veins can appear; and knee pain can result due to the weight of the leg. There have also been cases of eating disorders leading to obesity and psychological problems.

Once diagnosed, the main treatments available on the NHS currently are compression therapy in the form of tights or wraps to reduce fluid build-up which sometimes accompanies lipoedema. Compression therapy will not reverse the adipose tissue enlargement of lipoedema, but may prevent the lipoedema worsening and decrease the risk of progression to lipolymphoedema.

But what if you cannot bear wearing anything on your legs?  Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is one of the four cornerstones of treatment. MLD is a very specific but gentle type of massage carried out by qualified specialists/ practitioners. MLD helps to reduce pain and discomfort and promotes physical and psychological functioning. Many patients also feel that they derive psychological benefits from the opportunity to relax.

If you want to find out more about MLD, please contact Nainesh Vaisaitha here at the clinic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *