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.
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.
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.
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