June is Lipoedema Awareness Month.
You are probably wondering what on earth is Lipoedema, or Lipedema, Lipodema or even Limphoedema is!?
The photos below show examples of this condition and perhaps now you can recall seeing women (as this condition mainly effects women) who are or who have suffered from this condition.
Here are some images I found thanks to Google...
Unfortunately you may have mistaken Lipoedema sufferers with unfortunate cellulite or obese from poor diet... but the "shelf" look over the ankle and/or disporportionate fat stored only in the underarm, but slimish through the trunk of the body - is a giveaway that Lipoedema is in fact to blame for this disfiguring.
Not only is Lipeodema unsightly, but painful. The body collects fluid and stores fat directly under the skin affecting circulation and of course movement. No amount of exercise or diet restrictions will change this. Even surgery (such as liposuction) may not be an option because of poor healing due to diminished circulation. This condition can affect the underweight, as well as the over weight and can be inherited. It also has no race barrier.
And through artifacts and art, we know that this condition has been around for as long as time itself and therefore can not be blamed just on our modern diet or sedentry lifestyle.
(this image is from the website www.bigfatlegs.com)
What most people don't realise is that Lipoedema has 3 phases.
The second and third stages of Lipeodema are of course the most noticeable.
However, Stage 1 is often mistaken as weight gain and often begins at puberty or after childbirth. It is often left undiagnosed and young girls or new mums, already self conscious of their bodies, can often follow very restrictive diets or over exercise in an attempt to change their body shape. Or be told by others including their Doctors that they just need to eat less and move more.
No amount of dieting or exercise will reverse the effects of Lipeodema.
However, awareness and correct diagnosis of the condition can holt or at the very least, slow down the severity. Stage 3 is not only unsightly, but represents severe restrictions on the ability to move and function in daily life. Not to mention the constant pain and the high possibility of wounds not healing and leading to further complications. The loss of self confidence, ensuing depression and lack of mobility often causes obesity in the long term.
Although there is no cure to Lipeodema, significant functional improvements are possible with good program compliance and therapy intervention. This may include compression wear and massage that helps with lymphatic drainage. Also special diatary management, laser therapy and even power plate can help with circulation.
I found some interesting research here and have in the past worked with a client with lipoedema, who reported Power Plate helped with ciruculation and mobility. However, it was very important to slowly build up the clients' tolerance to the vibration.
Early diagnosis is key!
If you think that this may be affecting you, or another woman you know here are some information links:
There are also groups to join up with which focus on new medical breakthroughs and support and tips on best to deal with the issues associated with Lipeodema.
Here is a list of them:
http://www.lass.org.au (This Australian Organisation also has a private facebook group)
Related tags: Lipoedema, Lipodema, Lipedema, lass.org.au, bigfatlegs.com, Lymphodema Therapy, Power Plate