News & Insights 30 June 2020

Lipoedema Awareness Month

This June is Lipoedema Awareness Month and here at KiActiv® we want to play our part in bringing this condition further into the light. Many of us may have never heard of Lipoedema, and even for those of us who have, our understanding is often limited. Unfortunately, for those who are affected by this unpleasant condition, the physical and psychological burden is felt every day.

So, what is Lipoedema

Lipoedema is a bi-lateral swelling of the limbs which primarily effects the lower legs and thighs. The condition is caused by an excess build-up of fat cells just under the skin, which often appears pale and feel cold to touch. The swelling generally presents symmetrically in the affected limbs, which appear much larger in proportion to the rest of the body. The hands and feet remain unaffected with lipoedema, so a ‘cuff like’ effect is often visible at the wrists or ankles. Carrying the excess weight commonly gives rise to joint pain, limited mobility and problems with posture and gait.

Physical symptoms of lipoedema include symmetrical swelling of limbs, pain in the affected limbs, a disproportionate body shape, a distinctive ‘pad’ of fat beneath the knees or hips, frequent unexplained bruising, joint pain, and tenderness in the surrounding tissues. These symptoms can make it difficult to carry out normal tasks without suffering from pain and discomfort. The psychological impacts can be just as devastating. Patients have reported various psychosocial concerns such as a sense of poor body image, social isolation, social embarrassment and financial concerns amongst other worries.

Why do we need to raise awareness?

The lack of attention Lipoedema receives and misunderstanding of the condition in both the medical and general populations can intensify the detrimental impacts that living with Lipoedema can have on the quality of normal life. Lipoedema remains disproportionately under-researched when you compare it to other conditions that affect similar numbers of people. The void of scientific evidence has led to an absence of knowledge and understanding that stretches as far as the medical community, with many symptoms often attributed to other, better known conditions such as obesity and lymphoedema. This can make it particularly challenging to receive the correct diagnosis, begin an appropriate treatment plan, and live life to their fullest with the condition.

Why is everyday physical activity so important?

At KiActiv®, we know that physical activity is multi-dimensional, which means that every single movement you make is valuable for your health and wellbeing. Keeping moving, is crucial for people with lipoedema, and can prevent the symptoms from getting worse. Our personalised and guided online programme, called LymphActiv, allows you to make the most of your lifestyle and the opportunities it holds to alleviate your symptoms. By helping to manage weight, and improve lymph flow and drainage, LymphActiv is a powerful tool for managing your condition and for better health. At present, there is no known cure for lipoedema but if identified early, it can be effectively managed to greatly reduce the physical, psychological and social impacts of the condition. In order to help develop effective treatments and continue developing our understanding, we must continue to raise awareness to motivate scientists and medical experts to carry out further research on Lipoedema.

The KiActiv® Team