MAR, MLDUK, BFRP
Natural & Complementary Therapies, Cyprus
Lipoedema is a condition
often incorrectly diagnosed, and simply dismissed as being overweight.
It is found exclusively in women and affects both legs. It is caused
due to an abnormally high accumulation of subcutaneous fat cells that
develop from the waist to the ankles. The upper body is usually not
affected, and neither the feet - they stay slim. It usually occurs during
puberty or pregnancy and both legs swell up, as do the buttocks. Patients
can experience high skin sensitivity that is painful to touch and bruises
easily. Some may develop lymphoedema as well, called lipo-lymphoedema.
The Western world's view
of “slimness” means that patients are under extra pressure
to fit in with society. Dieting does not help decrease the size, but
a healthy diet does help maintain their weight. Lipoedema has nothing
at all to do with being fat or obese! In lipoedema-patients the individual
fat cells themselves are normal sized, i.e. small, but they literally
have doube or tripple times more of them! In people who are fat or obese,
their individual fat cells have simply become enlarged.
An incorrect treatment that
beauty therapy centres often administer - assuming that the person is
overweight - is to treat them with suction machines and strong massage!
It only has a very temporary relief, can be extremely painful, and the
legs go back to their previous enlarged size. Continuous strenuous treatments
can damage the delicate lymphatic vessels which can then lead to a much
more serious condition - lipo-lymphoedema. That really is a challenge!