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High Wycombe mother Katie Turner can now run and play with her children Aubrey and Mason after drastic surgery helped improve her quality of life.

Life with lipoedema

WHEN Katie Turner found out there was no cure or treatment for her chronic medical condition, she went on a mission to find answers and help others like herself.

For the first time in her life, the High Wycombe mother-of-two will speak publicly about living with lipoedema at a community awareness event next weekend.

Lipoedema is a chronic and incurable condition caused by an accumulation of diseased fat and fluid in the tissues under the skin.

It typically affects the thighs, buttocks, lower legs and sometimes the arms, and may cause considerable tissue enlargement, swelling and pain and can significantly impair mobility and quality of life.

It is hereditary and is usually onset at puberty, during pregnancy or menopause.

Because lipoedema presents like obesity, people with the condition are often misdiagnosed or told to exercise more and eat less.

Despite experiencing mild symptoms in her younger years, Ms Turner led a relatively normal life until the condition worsened after having children.

“I was fit and healthy, exercising every day, eating organic,” she said.

“What I didn’t know and understand was my pregnancy hormones were fuelling a rapid progression of my conditions.

“My legs felt like wading through concrete and I was in a lot of pain.”

When the condition worsened with her second pregnancy, she started researching her symptoms online which eventually led to a formal diagnosis.

“I was told I had this incurable condition that made me feel horrendous all the time and all I could do was wear compression clothing and eat anti-inflammatory and that’s it,” she said.

“It got to the point where I almost applied for a disability pension because I couldn’t work.”

Despite losing 30kgs, she was left with the painful diseased tissue around her legs and arms that does not shift with diet and exercise, leading her to weight loss surgery.

Last year she underwent three, lengthy surgeries to remove 25cm of skin and 15 litres of fat and tissue.

“By removing all that toxic fat and inflation everything has levelled out,” she said.

“There’s no guarantee having the surgery means it won’t come back but it is the best way to go back to square one.”

There is no Medicare recognition of lipoedema meaning patients pay out of pocket.

“I don’t have a super anymore but I do have quality of life,” Ms Turner said.

To create greater awareness of the condition and in recognition of lipoedema awareness month, Lipoedema WA is hosting a free community event on June 25.

More information about the event here.

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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