What makes lipedema worse? The role of inflammation

Are you wondering what makes lipedema worse? Does lipedema cause swelling and does lipedema cause inflammation? What’s the deal with keto and inflammation? It’s complicated, intertwined, and all part of the puzzle researchers are still putting together. Inflammation and the role it plays in lipedema was one of my major takeaways from the recent 2023 Fat Disorders Research Society (FDRS) conference. Read on (or watch below) to understand the connection between food sensitives, stress, and inflammation for lipedema patients. I’ll also share one key reason keto reduces inflammation.

But please remember, I’m not a doctor and this isn’t medical advice. Work with your care team to figure out what’s right for you.

A discussion of the role of inflammation in lipedema and strategies for reducing it in our bodies.

The connection between inflammation, swelling, a fat was a major a-ha moment for me during FDRS. Dr. Herbst emphasized multiple times that fat loves a fluid-rich environment and that helps it grow and expand. Well, guess what? Inflammation can cause swelling which contributes to the development of that fluid-rich environment. I heard over and again that it is important for lipedema patients to reduce inflammation. Honestly, it’s important for everyone but our sluggish lymphatic systems means that our bodies are more easily overwhelmed.

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How can you reduce inflammation related to lipedema?

  1. Identify and eliminate – or at least reduce – food sensitivities. Every day you may be unknowingly eating foods you are sensitive to. That was me with dairy and eggs. I had eaten them my whole life so I assumed they were fine for me… until I saw what happened when I stopped! (See my dairy-free series for more on that.) Keto automatically wipes out a lot of problem foods but you will likely need to dig a little deeper to figure out everything that is causing you problems, especially if you tried keto and it “just didn’t work.” You may be reacting to spices or other things you take for granted as good for you. A few years ago I did an over-the-counter Everlywell food sensitivity test and that helped me identify foods to explore through an elimination diet. I bought the basic test that looks at 96 foods, but they also have a comprehensive food sensitivity test that looks at 204 different possible triggers. Both of these tests are done by pricking your finger at home and mailing in a small sample. For more reliable and detailed results, see an allergist and/or a nutritionist.
  2. Control blood sugar. Did you know that high blood sugar can contribute to inflammation? One of the benefits of a keto or low-carb lifestyle is that it brings down your blood sugar quite dramatically. This explains why eliminating, or at least reducing carbohydrates can have such a big influence. Not only are many of us sensitive to eating them, but they also send our bodies on a blood sugar roller coaster that fuels inflammation. And remember, inflammation creates swelling, and fat loves stagnant fluid.
  3. Manage stress. Chronic stress is bad. We all know that but it doesn’t make it any easier to change! So many women have reached out to share they are worried, scared, and stressed about having lipedema. The difficult thing about that is that being stressed about lipedema actually makes it worse. Stress is known to contribute to inflammation and if you’ve read this far, you understand that inflammation makes lipedema worse. Check out my post on mental health challenges and strategies for lipedema patients for some tips on navigating that minefield. Remember, it took you years to get this sick and it’s going to take time to heal your body. Take it one day at a time and, rather than focus on being perfect and changing your whole life right now, try to do better than last week. One step at a time will take you places you never dreamed possible.

Have you noticed inflammation from food or stress impacts your lipedema? What strategies have you found helpful for managing it? I’d love to hear from you!

I may receive a small commission if you purchase through an Amazon link in this post, but that’s never why I recommend something.

Author: Rebekah

Vibrant, creative, thirty-something living life to the fullest with chronic disease.

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