Often mistaken for obesity, lipedema primarily affects women. It is a progressive condition characterized by a disproportionate accumulation of fat in the lower extremities. Regular light exercise and diet changes have been shown to help manage lipedema better. Lipedema diet Read on to find out which foods you should avoid and which diet and exercise can help reduce the pain and discomfort of lipedema.
What is lipedema?
Lipedema is a disease of inflamed fat cells and disproportionate fat deposits, especially in the lower half of the body. It primarily affects women and causes fat deposits in the tissues of the thighs, pelvis and legs. Oddly enough, it does not affect the legs and arms. In women with lipedema, the hips and legs are larger than the upper body.
While it may initially be confused with obesity, it can cause unbearable pain and even inactivity due to swelling in the legs. Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle or menopause can potentially exacerbate symptoms.
Lipedema is classified into one of the following five types based on the location of body fat:
Type 1 – hips and pelvis.
Type 2 – from the hips to the knees.
Type 3 – from the hips to the ankles.
Type 4 – shoulders.
Type 5 – only lower legs.
Symptoms of lipedema
Most women with lipedema have uneven fat deposits in the lower body. There are other common symptoms that can accompany lipedema, but not all women should have them.
- Pain: The fat that accumulates on the thighs and legs can become sore and sensitive to touch and any pressure.
- Bruises: Affected areas of the body can easily become bruised. Tiny spider veins close to the surface of the skin can contribute to bruising.
- Upper arm lubrication: About a third of women with lipedema may also have excess fat accumulation in their upper arms.
- Hard nodules: When massaged under the skin, hard nodules the size of a pea or fatty lumps can be felt.
- Cold Skin: The skin in the affected area of the thighs and legs may look colder than the rest of the body.
- Inactivity: As the condition worsens, the increase in foot size, heaviness, and associated pain can lead to joint damage and changes in gait, making walking difficult in general.
- Fibrosis: The chronic inflammation in lipedema can also lead to fibrosis or scar tissue in the fatty deposits, further inhibiting lymphatic circulation.
- Lymphedema: As the disease progresses, lymphedema (swelling due to blockage of lymphatic fluid) may also occur in the lower extremities and thighs.
In addition to the above symptoms, women with lipedema have been found to be more prone to migraine, hypothyroidism, and depression. But oddly enough, the risks of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome may be lower, since most of the fat is stored in the legs and hips, and not around the internal organs.
Lipedema, with its life-changing symptoms, can take a toll on your physical and mental health. However, with appropriate treatment, exercise, and dietary changes, the above symptoms of lipedema can be controlled to some extent. So which diet can help reduce body fat, pain, and fluid retention without affecting their metabolism?
Nutritional therapy for lipedema
Although you may not see an immediate improvement in your condition, there are several foods that can cause lipedema to flare up. You should avoid using it:
- Pasteurized dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
- Fatty animal meat (bacon, red meat, sausage)
- Simple sugars and carbohydrates (white rice, pasta, potatoes, honey or cereals)
- Heavily processed and salty foods (beef jerky, smoked meats, canned meats)
- Products made from processed or refined flour (cakes or bread)
In addition to these basic dietary changes, many women with lipedema have found significant improvement in their symptoms following a ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet limits all forms of carbohydrates, such as sugar, rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, and most fruits. This leads to a metabolic state called ketosis; where fat becomes your body’s main source of energy rather than glucose. But how does a ketogenic diet help improve lipedema symptoms?
Seafood, eggs, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and fruits are popular keto-friendly foods that can relieve symptoms of lipedema.
Benefits of the Lipedema Diet
Although direct evidence is lacking, several small studies, clinical trials, and anecdotal evidence suggest that a ketogenic diet may help reduce fat accumulation, pain, and discomfort associated with lipedema.
Listed below are some of the research evidence showing the beneficial effects of a ketogenic diet on lipedema.
Helps to lose weight
When women with lipedema switch to a ketogenic diet, there is a corresponding change in their metabolism. Their bodies are forced to metabolize fats instead of glucose for energy production. This can lead to the fact that some of the accumulated excess fat will be burned. Many studies confirm that people eat less and lose weight when they cut out carbs entirely and instead consume proteins and fats.
Reduces fluid retention
The progression of lipedema can cause lymphedema over time. According to one study, a ketogenic diet could potentially help reduce lymph fluid retention and limb swelling.
Reduces pain and inflammation
Pain associated with fatty lipedema may be due to inflammation and allodynia (nerve pain). A number of studies have shown that the ketogenic diet reduces the inflammatory and chronic pain associated with weight and obesity. Several animal studies also show the beneficial effects of a ketogenic diet in reducing allodynia and inflammation.
Helps remove excess fluid
Women with lipedema can be helped by water loss in their tissues, which can help reduce water retention and resulting swelling in the extremities. The ketogenic diet has a diuretic effect and initiates water loss and then fat loss during the first few days. According to a study done on people with obesity and lymphedema, the ketogenic diet was found to be effective in reducing the amount of lymphatic retention in the affected limbs.
May help remove excess salt
Women with lipedema tend to have higher sodium concentrations in adipose tissue, accumulating in the legs and buttocks. The ketogenic diet also helps remove salt from the body by lowering insulin levels and releasing water.
Improves mental health
Women diagnosed with lipedema have been found to feel overwhelmed, overwhelmed, and overwhelmed. Pain and immobility also affect their mental health. The ketogenic diet has been found to help improve mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. It may help improve the quality of life of women suffering from the cumulative health effects of lipedema.
While a change in diet is necessary to facilitate metabolic changes from within, it must be supplemented with some exercise to help mobilize the fluid and fat accumulated in lipoedema. Let’s take a closer look at what forms of exercise are possible and best suited for different stages of lipedema.
Exercises for lipedema
While painful fat accumulation can prevent you from doing any heavy exercise, maintaining a moderately active lifestyle is the key to reducing pain and symptoms. Even light walking and leg movements can activate body fat and lymphatic fluid, reducing inflammation and pain.
In the initial stages of lipedema, women should try to lead an active lifestyle. Even 45 minutes of light walking 4-5 times a week can help. However, women who are diagnosed with lipedema in the later stages may have difficulty moving because of the pain associated with the accumulation of fat in the lower half of the body.
In such cases, light exercise in the water, such as water walking or low-impact water aerobics, can help relieve the condition. The water helps provide buoyancy to help the body move and provides some compression to direct lymph circulation.
Other therapies that can help reduce the symptoms of lipedema include liposuction (surgical removal of subcutaneous fat), therapeutic massage, compression (with or without vibration therapy), and manual lymphatic drainage.
Regular low-impact exercise and following a lipedema diet can help reduce some of the symptoms and better control the condition.
What happens if lipedema is left untreated?
Left untreated, lipedema can increase the risk of hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, and certain eating disorders.
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