Have you ever heard of Lipoedema?

Have you ever heard of Lipoedema?

Have you ever heard of Lipoedema?

Do you know anyone who has this long-term health condition?


June is Lipoedema Awareness Month and an ideal opportunity to learn more about Lipoedema and help us to spread the word as part of the International awareness campaign.


Lipoedema was first described in 1940 by American Doctors but unfortunately, it is still a little-known condition which is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood.


Mary Warrilow  is a Centre for Integral Health practitioner and an independent nurse specialist in lymphoedema.


We spoke to her about Lipoedema, the symptoms and the effects of the condition.


She said: “This chronic condition affects mostly, but not exclusively, women and presents as a symmetrical, abnormal build-up of adipose tissue and swelling affecting the buttocks, thighs and lower legs, and in some cases the arms, but spares the hands and feet.


“The waist remains slim and so does the upper body in comparison to the buttocks and lower limbs, so leaving the lower half of the body out of proportion to the upper half.


“A ‘cuffing’ or bracelet effect can be seen on the ankles and wrists and the condition is characterised by heavy, painful legs that can bruise easily. The skin can have a dimpled appearance and maybe cold to touch as well as very sensitive.


“Other clinical indicators including fat pads to the limbs and fallen arches are common. The condition, as it progresses, will greatly affect mobility and other activities of daily living.”


Mary adds that Lipoedema usually occurs around the time of puberty but can also occur at other times, for example around hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause.


And there is sometimes a familial pattern - it is thought that there is a genetic and hormonal link to the condition.


Lipoedema is often misdiagnosed as obesity or Lymphoedema (swelling of the limbs or body due to a lymphatic disorder) and issues around body image and low self-esteem can lead to a negative psychological impact on those suffering with it.


Managing Lipoedema


Conservative management of Lipoedema, which can help alleviate and sometimes improve symptoms, includes:


  • Skincare

  • Compression therapies

  • Medical Lymphatic Drainage

  • Exercise


Weight loss will do very little to change the lipoedema fat; however, if an individual has an element of obesity then weight loss and a healthy lifestyle can give some obvious general improvement to health and well-being. Other treatment successes include Specialist Tumescent Liposuction.


If you or anyone you know is struggling with this condition then please get in touch with Mary for advice and support. Mary can offer a comprehensive initial assessment and plan of care and treatment at The Centre for Integral Health and other venues in Shropshire.


With the current pandemic situation, her clinics have become ‘virtual’ with video technology being offered via a secure platform.

You can also find more information on Lipoedema through the national Charity Lipoedema UK, who have a plethora of information or why not consider becoming a member? 

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About the Centre

The Centre for Integral Health was started in 2013 by director Ben Calder after studying Integral theory since 2011 and over 10 years of professional practice of kinesiology and Bowen fascia Release Technique, coupled with the desire to explore the application of the Integral Model in relation to health.

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