Progression: is lipedema a progressive disease?

Yes and no. But how do we determine the progression (advancement)?

The disease Lipedema is classified according to current guidelines on the basis of stages, which are intended to define an increase in subcutaneous fatty tissue with accompanying tissue change as progression. However, if you work your way a little further into the biology behind the disease, you will find that the fat cells, which are consistently questionable as "lipedema cells", are also known in the scientific context as degenerated adipocytes be designated.

We can translate colloquially from Fat cells that have lost part of their natural function, speak.

Adipo- what?

So let's come first to the most important natural task of Adipocytes for the human body: In phases of energetic undersupply they serve as most important reserve, whose evolutionary significance can be explained in the origins of the human species as nomads. The early one Homo sapiens wandered through a large area in search of food. This meant that days with an oversupply of food, because one or more animals could be killed during the migration, alternated with days or even weeks of insufficient supply, in which one mainly only fed on seeds and berries.

In order to compensate for this imbalance, the human body is able to store the excess energy from the excess food supply and make it available again in phases of insufficient supply.

Fat cells are your friend and helper. Actually.

As long-term storage, the fat cells developed as ideal companions in this struggle for survival. From this it can be deduced for people today:

Adipocytes only "grow" when they convert the energy input into body fat and store the energy in this way. In contrast is the wrong Assumption that fat cells in lipedema are degenerate, i.e. deviating from the norm, that they enlarge without any action.

Refuting the fundamental laws of thermodynamics:

The fat stored in the adipocytes is a high-energy storage substance. The first law of thermodynamics says: Energy can neither be »created« nor »destroyed«. Energy is only converted. From one form of energy to another. From food to fat deposits.

With regard to the increase in volume of adipocytes, progression can only be defined in terms of abnormal weight gain. Deviating from the norm towards obesity, the pathological excess weight. The currently defined stages of the disease lipedema are therefore not an adequate definition of the disease and its progression. Based on these scientific facts, one can therefore determine that lipedema not is progressive.

How do I come to the assumption that the disease lipedema is or could be progressive?

To do this, we need to look at other symptoms of the disease. One of the most compelling symptoms here is the pain, which according to previous studies has shown a real, progressive development.

Nobody can yet say exactly what causes these in detail. There is still a lack of decisive research into the causes. One possible cause, however, seems to be so-called adipokines, special messenger substances produced by adipocytes. In the case of strong weight gain, it has been proven that their inflammation-promoting properties are significantly responsible for the development of diseases such as type II diabetes mellitus, arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure.

At this point, let us state again:

When weight gain, adipocytes release more inflammatory messenger substances. On the other hand, when you lose weight or maintain weight, more adipokines are produced, which have an anti-inflammatory effect.

We should therefore - with reference to the issue of volume enlargement - assume that a stage of the disease lipedema which is stable according to the current definition, also remains stable with regard to other symptoms. However, this observation cannot be made.

The assumption is therefore that the degenerate adipocytes in the case of lipedema deviate from the norm in that they have little or no control over the release of adipokines, which act in the directly surrounding tissue (skin, connective tissue, fascia, blood and lymph vessels) and promote inflammation. However, such assumptions have yet to be verified through scientific research.

Progression - but based on the current state of knowledge, we can state:

  1. The progression of lipedema cannot be defined by an increase in volume with accompanying tissue changes.
  2. The increase in volume, previously defined as progression, cannot be attributed to lipedema, but to general weight gain.
  3. The disease lipedema requires further research with the participation of biologists and histologists.
  4. The definition of the disease lipedema needs an urgent revision, which reformulates the stages of the disease and fully includes current knowledge of the disease itself and the therapy.

Image source: pa / OKAPIA / Gladden W. Willis

Author: Anna Clemens

I am Anna. Born in 1990 and lives in Darmstadt. At the age of 11 I developed pronounced lymphedema, the cause of which was hidden for many years. During a rehab in the Földi Clinic in 2011, I was confronted with the term "lipedema" for the first time, but the confirmatory diagnosis actually only followed in early 2017. In life we ​​are constantly faced with challenges and it is up to us how we deal with them. The challenge of "lipoedema" gave me an incentive to use the knowledge I had theoretically acquired during my studies and to find solutions for myself to deal with the disease. One of the most important solutions for me was movement. An expression of freedom that I would like to share with other people affected as well as my knowledge of how exercise can physically and mentally improve life with lipedema. At this point I am happy to expand my engagement "female lipedema fighters" and to distribute a few articles in the growing lipedema community.

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  • The author's own opinion / conclusions are not marked as these. It is said that the assumptions are scientifically sound, without scientific sources being named. I think that if you enter such a very scientific field and put forward your own theses, source references and clear delimitation of theses, research results and conclusions as well as personal opinion should not be missing. Personally, it is difficult for me to define exactly these things in the article. That is a shame, because it makes it difficult to discuss the topic and I personally do not know what I am allowed to include as a given in my knowledge and what is only theory and thus food for thought.

  • I am convinced that movement and energy consumption are everything.
    I have a late diagnosis, but I'm always normal. I worked very hard and also rode, helped on the farm and went walking and swimming. Only since I stopped working hard (gastronomy) and stopped riding my body has it deteriorated. There is definitely a connection.
    Cheers Valeria

  • Hello.
    So I can only say that it is receding for me. I just never took it, this: yes, yes, lipedema, there is nothing you can do about it…. Fortunately I have a good doctor who doesn't say this. I have fasted several times, changed my diet, set up the lipedema in the systemic family constellation, take vitamins, did a breath gas analysis (the basal metabolic rate in calories is measured there), go to the lymphatic system 1 to 2 times a week, wear my stockings every day and do some sport. I went from 85 kg to 65 kg and I am commuting between 65 and 67 kg. And I'm sure if I don't take it, nothing will get worse. Maybe someday I'll be taught someone else, it's not like that yet and I hope it stays that good. I wish you all a lot of perseverance, stay tuned, believe in yourselves, look for alternatives and don't just trust conventional medicine….
    Best regards

    • Hello bobble,
      I would like to know which vitamins have helped you lose weight.
      I have also changed my diet and hope that I will soon be successful.
      The breathing gas analysis was safely carried out by the naturopath, wasn't it?
      Greetings Andrea

      • Hello Andrea!
        I had people do the breathing gas analysis at a fitness center in Schwerte. But you can also calculate the basal metabolic rate on the Internet. But it wasn't quite right for me. Deviation of approx. 200 calories. I take vitamins, etc.: Vitamin d (better check the value beforehand), c, b, k2, OPC, folic acid, sweet clover and magnesium. But I think it was everything: sport, diet changes, stockings, lymphs and also the fasting hike started everything for me. We now weigh 63 kg and I am satisfied. Now a little more muscle building and then it's good. My doctor also said that it works so well for me, it could be that I have more lymph edema than lipedema….

  • Hi

    I am currently writing my master's thesis on the pathology of lipedema and would be looking for men with lipedema. Can offer a complete hormone screening with one of the leading doctors in lipedema, or a diagnosis of lipedema. If you know someone, I would be very happy about a forwarding, we would need this as a positive sample.

    Yours sincerely Schimak Erwin Bsc med biology.

  • "The increase in volume previously defined as progression cannot be attributed to the disease lipoedema, but to a general increase in weight." - Sorry, but that's just scientifically wrong. I was always genetically underweight (BMI between 17 and 17,5) and developed lipoedema in the ankle area out of nowhere in my early 40s. I've never been pregnant either. I've never weighed more than 51 pounds at 1,66'3". Nevertheless, my ankles are now clearly and unsightly thickened, it has increased over the course of XNUMX years, and I will have the lipoedema drained at my own expense. I didn't stand a chance from the start - my mother, grandma, great-grandmother and aunt all had lipoedema. In many cases, lipoedema or its progression has NOTHING to do with weight gain!