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What is Lipoedema?

What is lipoedema?

Lipoedema is a chronic disease which is characterised by a disproportional distribution of the subcutaneous fat accompanied with pain, the feeling of heaviness and discomfort. The disproportional increase in fat occurs most often in the legs and sometimes also in the arms and is an important criterion for this disease. It is important to differentiate lipoedema from obesity, because lipoedema is often incorrectly diagnosed as obesity and wrongly treated. Many patients try “diet and exercise” but experience the jo-jo-effect gaining weight again.

Whereas mismatch of waist-to-height/waist-to-hip ratio can be observed in case of lipoedema the case of obesity patients experience BMI increase. 

In contrast to the traditional view now experts agree that lipoedema usually is not progressive. 

Nevertheless, obesity is often progressive. If obesity is progressive, lipoedema can get worse. 

Lipoedema management

Lipoedema is a chronic condition which needs an individual holistic treatment approach focusing on patient’s needs and enabling daily functioning. Thereby self-management is very important. 

Important corner stones of lipoedema treatment are skin care and protection, and compression therapy. In addition, regular exercises, most suitable for each patient, have to be integrated into the daily life. 

MLD has been reported to have a positive psychological effect only.

Furthermore, relaxation (yoga, mindfulness training) and psychotherapy are helpful. Liposuction is suitable only for some patient groups.

Optimising the health situation, avoiding risk factors and continues lipoedema treatment are essential to manage lipoedema.

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