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What is Lipedema?

Coach Katrina helps to identify a poorly understood, but common medical condition.

Article by Katrina Harris | 16 Apr, 2021

Do any of these statements ring true for you?

  • I am extremely pear-shaped, with a lower half disproportionally larger than my upper half
  • Even when I lose weight, my legs stay large
  • I bruise easily
  • My legs are very sensitive to pressure. It might hurt to have a pet walk across them. Having my legs massaged can be incredibly painful
  • When pressing on my legs (or arms), I can feel fat nodules beneath that skin that feel like frozen peas (or larger)
  • I might have what is called a "knee cliff" (a layer of fat that seems to hang over the top of the knee)
  • I might have a fat pad below the knee towards the interior of the leg
  • I might have an ankle cuff or even a wrist cuff (where it looks like someone placed a rubber band around my ankle or wrist)
  • My disproportion and/or pain gets worse due to hormones (puberty, pregnancy/child birth, and menopause)

Does it feel like you’ve tried everything to no avail?

You may have a condition called Lipedema.

What is Lipedema?

Lipedema is an adipose (fat) tissue disorder that causes a symmetrical build up of fat in the legs, hips, and upper arms. It is not rare, but it is rarely diagnosed as it’s often confused with obesity. Lipedema does not have a diagnostic test, which leads many physicians to a poor understanding of the condition and with very little research on the subject of which to avail themselves. 

What Can I Do if I Think I Have Lipedema?

There are a few conservative treatments available to help to ease the pain of lipedema and to stop the progression of the disease. Some of these would include: water therapy, massage (specifically manual lymphatic drainage), dry brushing, compression garments, and lifestyle changes. 

There are two lifestyle changes that may help to address lipedema. One is following a strict ketogenic protocol to deal with the inflammation that can contribute to the additional accumulation of the fibrotic lipedema fat. The second is to find a good support group to expand your knowledge of the disease and to support your own self care regimen. 

To learn more about lipedema, check out these sources and resources:

The Lipedema Foundation

Ketogenic Nutrition for Lymphedema, Lipedema, and Lipo-Lymphedema- A Facebook group is for those following ketogenic nutrition to manage lipedema, lymphedema, and lipo-lymphedema

Lipedema Warriors- An international Facebook group dedicated to education and support for persons with Lipedema.

Hacking for Lipedema- An eight-week paid education and support group specifically for persons with lipedema or lymphedema who need help using keto to get traction on their condition. This group is led by two Ketogenic Lifestyle Coaches who have and manage these conditions. 

 

Katrina Harris manages her own lipedema through a ketogenic protocol, is a Ketogenic Lifestyle Coach, and facilitates the Hacking for Lipedema support group with fellow coach, Kimmi Katte.

 

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