Lipoedema - ‘painful fat syndrome’ in focus

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A condition which mainly affects females and often leads to them being mistakenly branded as ‘obese’ will be in the spotlight later this month.

Lipoedema is a chronic and progressive disorder of the adipose tissue and is often referred to as “painful fat syndrome”.

In conjunction with the online support group called ‘Talk Lipoedema’, two ladies from Northern Ireland are holding an awareness day about the condition on Saturday,17th October from 10am until 4pm at the House of Vic-Ryn, Moira Road, Lisburn.

Angie McCarroll explains: “I myself was diagnosed with Lipoedema in 2007 and Caroline (Weir) was diagnosed in or around 2008/2009. I soon come to realise that despite Lipoedema first being described by Allen & Hines in the 1940’s there has been no real research carried out in last 75 years into this condition, which predominately affects females and is exceptionally rare in males.

“Currently there is no cure for Lipoedema. Lack of knowledge about Lipoedema and the fact that the condition is often mistaken for obesity means many women experience self-doubt and feel stigmatised.

“95% of people with lipoedema report that they fail to lose weight in areas affected by lipoedema, despite losing weight successfully from other areas. The exact cause of Lipoedema at present is unknown but it is thought that hormonal factors play a role. Estimates of the incidence of Lipoedema vary widely and range to as high as 11% of the post-puberty female population.

“Lipoedema fat does not respond to dieting. However, it is very important that people with lipoedema learn to manage their weight as Lipoedema is excerbated by obesity. Therefore choosing healthy foods and avoiding over or under-eating out of frustration with the situation is extremely important.

“Exercise is very important as it helps maintain a healthy weight, and leads to a feeling of wellbeing. However, it is very important that people with lipoedema learn to choose activities that will help, as opposed to exacerbating the condition. Swimming or aqua exercise, walking and cycling are low impact and amongst the most beneficial exercises for reducing and controlling areas with Lipoedema.

“Talk Lipoedema is a non-profit making organisation which has been set up to raise awareness of Lipoedema and help people with the condition to get a medical diagnosis. Talk Lipoedema are also there to give support and knowledge on how to self-manage the condition and improve the quality of sufferers’ lives. They offer 24/7 support in a number of ways through a web based forum on their website, twitter and facebook.”

For anyone wishing to know more they may book their free place by email: contact@talklipoedema.org or phone 07340 111752.