Lipedema – the new trend disease?
Hip dips, saddlebags and a little more on the hips do not correspond to the general ideal of beauty. Many women suffer from it and want to get rid of excess love handles. Normally, this is not a cause for concern, as saddlebags and the like usually disappear during weight loss. But what if, despite a long diet , nothing changes in your legs? One reason for this could be lipedema, which even strength athletes and some fitness influencers suffer from. In today’s blog post you can find out whether lipedema is a serious illness or just a trend disease and an excuse for fat legs.
What is lipedema?
Lipedema is a chronic disease that is characterized by a fat distribution disorder . In the case of the still relatively little researched disease, the reasons for the abnormal increase in subcutaneous fat are still unknown. This can be recognized on the one hand – especially on the lower body, on the other hand, it can also be felt by those affected. Because lipedema does not just seem to produce thicker legs. Affected people often suffer from painful feelings of tension , tenderness, bruises and edema (fluid accumulation in the tissue).
With whom, when and how often does lipedema occur?
The disease usually only occurs in women. Lipedema becomes noticeable after puberty or pregnancy and sometimes later in life. Furthermore, there are very different data on lipedema regarding the percentage of those affected. As far as is known, an estimated almost 4 million women in Germany are affected by the disease. In addition, the prevalence probably differs from country to country.
There are not just the legs!
The body shape of the patient changes, to put it simply, to a “more pronounced pear shape” , whereas this can best be seen in people of normal weight. However, in over 30% of cases, the upper body, especially the upper arms , is also affected. Interestingly enough, the physical changes always occur symmetrically. In this respect, z. B. both legs completely or only both thighs be affected. If the lipedema manifests itself on the entire length of the leg, this is also referred to as ” pillar leg “. Other patients also suffer from so-called musty excesses of fat, which are then referred to as the “Turk’s Pants phenomenon”.
The lipedema is progressing
Although science has not yet been able to establish any concrete cause of the pathological increase in the subcutaneous fat, it still expresses a few assumptions. Possibly genetic predispositions lead to an outbreak of the disease as only female family members are affected. In addition, a so-called capillary permeability disorder is probably responsible for the development of lipedema. Too much fluid from the vascular system gets between the vessels (also called interstitium). As a result, there is an increased supply of fluids in the body, which initially increases the body’s lymph transport. However, the lymph vessels cannot cope with this constant load , which is why they reduce the transport capacity over time. This leads to the following problem: In some parts of the body, excess tissue fluid can no longer be removed, so that edema develops, which lipedema patients often suffer from. The more severe this edema becomes in the affected women, the higher the lipedema stage. A distinction is made between three different stages.
Note: The more the disease progresses, the higher the stage and the more subcutaneous fat and protein-rich edema arise. On the other hand, the edema also leads to an increased loss of healthy, functional tissue, which in turn leads to reduced lymph transport. In the third stage in particular, the tissue is noticeably harder than normal.
The situation of those affected
Lipedema is more than ” just thicker legs “. Especially since those affected often suffer from impairments in everyday life and psychosocial stress, which z. B. can lead to depression . In the worst case, lipedema leads to incapacity for work and occupational disability. In addition, more than half of the lipedema patients suffer from obesity (BMI> 30). However, obesity and lipedema should not be equated or confused, since obesity affects the entire body – in contrast to lipedema. In addition, the fat increases in obese people particularly noticeably on the abdomen and hip area. It is not yet known whether obesity leads to lipedema or lipedema to obesity. The same applies to depression and lipedema. What was first Based on clinical experience, doctors assume, for example, that pre-existing psychological stress can contribute to the development of lipedema.
Treatment and diagnosis? Not that easy at all!
In addition to classic methods such as regular liposuction and wearing compression bandages or stockings, some doctors also recommend psychosocial therapy as a supplement to treatment . Exercise therapy is also important to reduce body weight, since obesity and overweight are currently considered risk factors for the disease lipedema.
However, the treatment methods have their weaknesses, because as before mentioned, there is a lack of background knowledge on the cause of lipedema. As a result, only symptoms can be treated. It is often criticized that after a year of the last liposuction appointment, the weight in the form of body fat gained again. Further points of criticism are: Measures, e.g. B. Exercise therapy and liposuction for weight reduction only have a minimal effect on the changed body fat distribution. They also lead to eating disorders. In addition, the statement: “Weight loss has no effect on lipedema” is a myth. There is no scientific evidence to substantiate this, and clinical experience contradicts this claim. The attending physicians found that weight gain is a trigger for the development of lipedema. On the other hand, weight loss leads to a improvement of their pain up to complete freedom from symptoms in many patients.
In addition, problems often arise with the diagnosis. Often, lipedema is also used in similar diseases such as B. Obesity is not diagnosed at all or is diagnosed far too often. In addition, lipedema currently seems to be developing as a kind of trend diagnosis for people with thicker legs.
What you should take with you
Lipedema is associated with numerous uncertainties . If you hear statements about it, you should take that into account. After all, no fact about lipedema seems to be really set in stone.
We also think that it is important for everyone involved to develop increased social acceptance . Suffering from lipedema does not just mean “being fat”, it is also associated with physical and psychological pain.
It is also important to strive for normal weight , as this seems to give a certain degree of security so that the disease does not break out. Our Kilopurzler shake is an ideal way to replace a meal and thus come one step closer to weight loss.