Lipedema and Diabetes - A Vicious Circle!

As a person with lipedema and type I diabetes, I am dependent on the insulin supply "from outside" 24/7 and without a break. The insulin is brought under the skin either with the help of an insulin pen or an insulin pump via cannulas / needles and injected into the subcutaneous fatty tissue.

Insulin is a so-called mast hormone. On the one hand it causes the blood sugar level to drop, but on the other hand it can lead to an increase in the number of diseased fat cells. In other words, it is not unlikely that that Lipedema gets worse with insulin.

If you already have pain in the affected areas, it is very uncomfortable or almost unbearable to put a needle into these areas.

Arms and legs are the preferred spray points for many people with diabetes. Especially when the entire stomach is bitten and you want to protect your stomach for a while. Or if - as in my case - you are pregnant.

lipoedem fashion compression diabetes kathi schanz bauerfeind

Effectiveness and Importance
for everyday life

Unfortunately, the additional unpleasant pain and the potential worsening of the clinical picture are not the only negative aspects that these two diseases bring with them.

The more diseased fat cells you have, the more insulin is needed. However, a lot of insulin can lead to faster growth of the diseased adipose tissue. In addition, the effectiveness of the insulin is definitely impaired. The insulin takes longer to be absorbed by the body. This usually results in a greater splash-eating distance in our everyday life. This means that we first have to deliver the correct amount of insulin for our meal, wait until it starts to work, and only then can we eat. In addition, it is quite possible that the injections into the affected areas mean that the insulin has a poorer effect or is more difficult to absorb by the body. Personally, I have often noticed that only part of the insulin delivered is effective.

lipoedem fashion compression diabetes kathi schanz bauerfeind

Liposuction for lipedema -
a glimmer of hope?

The question now arises how one can break this vicious circle in order to achieve a better quality of life. What helped a lot in my case were the liposuctions for lipedema. My arms are my favorite place for the insulin pump catheter. Before the arm liposuction, I could no longer use it as a placement site. The pain was just unbearable and the insulin barely worked.

After the liposuction, my need for insulin decreased. Today I generally need a lot less insulin in everyday life. The insulin can now be better absorbed by my body again. I react more sensitively and faster to insulin, so that there is no longer a need for a spray-eating interval. And I no longer have any extra pain when inserting the catheter, the needles or the continuous glucose measuring system. For these reasons alone, which are not irrelevant to me, I am extremely happy to have already completed some of the planned liposuctions. This point was also included in the application for liposuction from my health insurance company, because luckily my diabetologist wrote me a certificate with exactly these points, which I was able to attach to the application.

lipoedem fashion compression diabetes kathi schanz bauerfeind

Compression stockings, lipedema and diabetes

Personally, I wear compression stockings on my arms, hands and legs (mostly leggings with socks). My CGM system continuously measures the tissue sugar every five minutes and transfers the value to the smartphone. So I am finally warned if the values ​​are too high / too low. This is therefore always below the compression. Many of those affected ask me whether this is uncomfortable or whether the values ​​are not falsified by the constant pressure on the device. From my own experience I can only say that you absolutely do not feel the sensor when it is sitting (you change position every ten days).

In addition, the compression above gives it a certain protection, so that you can be sure that you won't get caught on the next door frame and pull it out. Fortunately, my values ​​are not distorted by the pressure on the CGM system. I found that out through multiple "counter measurements". If you're a “bum” - that's what we in the community call the people who inject insulin with a pen - then you inevitably have to pull down the compression on your stomach to inject. Especially when you wear clothes, this cannot always be solved in a very elegant way. But I see that as a minor evil.

Do you have any further questions on the topics addressed or on the interaction between lipedema and diabetes? How are your experiences

lipoedem fashion compression diabetes kathi schanz bauerfeind

Author: Kathi Schanz

My main concern is to provide information in the area of ​​chronic diseases and to encourage those affected. After having been diagnosed with lipedema, type 1 diabetes and secondary lymphedema, I was not given any chances of pregnancy or a renewed flourishing in the table tennis world! Today I am a 2-time mom, pregnant again with miracle no. 3, German table tennis champion in my class and I use every opportunity to show what people with chronic diseases are capable of.

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  • My greatest respect for this way of life and congratulations on the three wonders ... stay brave. When I read these reports, I become humble ... have the second operation behind me, a diabetic abnormality was not manifest ... Alke's good still.

    • Thank you dear Andrea! I am sure that we will continue to do great things on our way. I also keep my fingers crossed for you and wish that you are satisfied with the results of the surgery and, above all, that the pain is no longer present or at least as good as gone.
      Dearest greetings


  • Hello Kathi. You don't believe how happy I am about your article. I was diagnosed with lipedema in 2018 and until now I was looking for affected type 1 diabetics like me. I have not dared to go over the ops because I pay them privately and I was afraid that the insulin would cause the lipedema to come back again. Unfortunately, my doctors could not give me any information about this either. And now I suddenly understand why I need such a long interval between injections and why my insulin sometimes just doesn't work. I didn't know about the interactions between diabetes and lipedema, and neither did my doctors. Thank you for your article! Could we stay in touch somehow?

    • Dear Nora,

      you can't imagine how happy I am about your message. Not in the sense of our diagnoses, of course, but the fact that the article helped you so much with the description of the interactions! This is exactly what I wanted to aim for, because unfortunately it is often the case that even people in the field have not heard about it and cannot help us. I acquired the knowledge through long research work - but also discussed a lot with my doctors and read from the contexts. I'm really happy that I could help you ♥ ️. Feel free to contact me via Instagram, that would be great. Best wishes


  • Hats off to so much vigor, positive coping with diagnoses that cannot really be changed and the effects on daily life
    And I think the introspection, with the resulting improvements, is great

  • Hats off to so much vigor, positive coping with diagnoses that cannot really be changed and the effects on daily life
    And I think the introspection is great, with the resulting improvements. Great miracles, congratulations

    • Wow! Thank you for your extremely positive feedback on how I deal with various chronic diseases. In fact, dealing positively with it is the only way to keep fighting and always thinking about what else I can adjust or improve so that the quality of life is increased even more. In addition, all these arguments resulted in something like a “social, more global thinking”. By this I mean that I don't just want to help myself with my educational work, but also to as many dear ones as possible. Kind regards and thanks for your message, Kathi

  • Dear Kathi,

    I also have type 1 diabetes and exactly the same "problem" with lipedema (on my stomach and legs) and the eternal vicious circle. In a few days I have my appointment with the surgery and shortly before that with my diabetologist, so that both can draw up an opinion. Do you vlt. Tips on what I should pay attention to when applying so that my chances are increased that the KK (I'm with the TK) will take over the procedure? And how long did the KK take with you to make its decision. Have you also been tightened? According to the doctor, my connective tissue is so 'in the bucket' due to the bulges that it would not recede on its own ... I would be happy about your answers!

    All the best and best regards

  • Huhu, I have a daughter with type 1 diabetes and now the lipoedema is getting worse after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Did you have an operation and if so where?