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Lipoedema - the new trend disease?

Hip dips, riding breeches and a little extra on the hips do not correspond to the general ideal of beauty. Many women suffer from this and want to get rid of the excess hip fat. Normally, this is no cause for concern, as riding breeches and the like usually disappear during weight loss. But what happens if, despite long-term dieting, there is simply no change in the legs? One reason for this could be the disease lipoedema, which even strength athletes and some fitness influencers suffer from. Read today's blog post to find out whether lipoedema is a serious disease or just a trend and an excuse for fat legs.

What is lipoedema?

Lipoedema is a chronic disease characterised by a fat distribution disorder. In the case of this still relatively under-researched disease, the causes of the abnormal increase in subcutaneous fatty tissue are still unknown. This can be recognised - especially on the lower body - but can also be felt by those affected. This is because lipoedema does not simply appear to result in thicker legs. Those affected often suffer from painful feelings of tension, sensitivity to touch, bruising and oedema (fluid accumulation in the tissue).

Who, when and how often does lipoedema occur?

The condition usually only occurs in women. Lipoedema becomes noticeable after puberty or pregnancy and sometimes later in life. Furthermore, data on lipoedema varies greatly in terms of the percentage of those affected. As far as is known, it is estimated that almost 4 million women in Germany are affected by the disease. In addition, the prevalence probably differs from country to country.

It's not just the legs!

Simply put, the patients' body shape changes to a "more pronounced pear shape", whereas this is best recognised in people of normal weight. However, in over 30% of cases, the upper body is also affected, especially the upper arms. Interestingly, the physical changes always occur symmetrically. This means, for example, that both legs can be completely affected or only both thighs. If lipoedema affects the entire length of the leg, this is also referred to as "columnar leg". Other patients also suffer from what is known as a muff-like increase in fat, which is then referred to as the "Turkish trousers phenomenon".

Lipoedema is progressing

Although scientists have not yet been able to identify a specific cause of the pathological increase in subcutaneous fatty tissue, they have nevertheless made a few assumptions. It is possible that 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 also responsible for the development of lipoedema. This means that too much fluid from the vascular system gets between the vessels (also known as interstitium). As a result, there is an increased supply of fluid in the body, which initially causes the body to increase lymph transport. However, the lymph vessels cannot cope with this permanent load, which is why they reduce their transport capacity over time. This leads to the following problem: excess tissue fluid can no longer be removed from some parts of the body, resulting in the oedema that lipoedema patients often suffer from. The more severe these oedemas become in the affected women, the higher the lipoedema 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 oedema develops. On the other hand, the oedema also leads to an increased loss of healthy, functioning 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

Lipoedema is more than "just thicker legs". Those affected often suffer from impairments in everyday life as well as psychosocial stress, which can lead to depression, for example. In the worst cases, lipoedema can lead to incapacity for work and disability. More than half of lipoedema patients also suffer from obesity (BMI >30). However, obesity and lipoedema should not be equated or even confused, as obesity affects the entire body - in contrast to lipoedema. In addition, the fat in obese people increases particularly visibly in the abdominal and hip area. Whether obesity leads to lipoedema or lipoedema leads to obesity is not yet known. The same applies to depression and lipoedema. Which came first? Based on clinical experience, doctors assume, for example, that pre-existing psychological stress can contribute to the development of lipoedema.

Treatment and diagnosis? Not so easy!

In addition to traditional methods such as regular liposuction and wearing compression bandages or stockings, some doctors also recommend psychosocial therapy as a supplement to treatment. However, exercise therapy is also important in order to reduce body weight, as obesity and being overweight are currently considered risk factors for lipoedema.

However, the treatment methods have their weaknesses because, as already mentioned, there is a lack of background knowledge about the cause of lipoedema. As a result, only symptoms can be treated. For example, it is often criticised that after a year of the last liposuction appointment, the weight is gained back in the form of body fat. Further points of criticism are: Measures such as exercise therapy and liposuction to reduce weight only have a minimal effect on the change in body fat distribution. They also lead to eating disorders. In addition, the statement: "Weight loss has no effect on lipoedema" is considered a myth. There is a lack of scientific evidence and clinical experience contradicts this claim. For example, treating physicians have found that weight gain is a trigger for the development of lipoedema. On the other hand, weight loss leads to an improvement in pain for many patients until they are completely free of symptoms.

In addition, problems often arise at the time of diagnosis. Lipoedema is often not diagnosed at all or is diagnosed far too often, even in the case of similar diseases such as obesity. In addition, lipoedema currently seems to be developing into a kind of trend diagnosis for people with thicker legs.

What you should take with you

Lipoedema is associated with numerous uncertainties. If you hear statements about it, you should take this into account. After all, no fact about lipoedema really seems to be set in stone yet

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We also believe that it is important for everyone involved to develop increased social acceptance. Suffering from lipoedema does not simply mean "being fat", but is also associated with physical and psychological pain.

It is also important to strive for a normal weight, as this seems to provide a certain degree of security to prevent the disease from breaking out. Our Kilopurzler Shake is an ideal way to replace a meal and get one step closer to losing weight.

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