Over the last few decades, there has been an exponential increase in obese and morbidly-obese patients world-wide, especially in developed countries. Obesity is a well-known trigger for a host of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, arthroses, etc. The impact of obesity on patients with lymphedema and lipedema is vastly underestimated and there are many misconceptions about obesity and its association with these diseases. Many myths negatively impact the treatment provided to patients suffering from lymphedema and lipedema.

The Obesity and Obesity-Related Lymphedema & Lipedema online course created and presented by Tobias Bertsch, MD, delves into the misconceptions related to obesity and offers evidence-based information that counters the myths. The course is subdivided in four “Acts.”

In Act I, Dr. Bertsch explores the inter-relationship between lymphatic function and adipose tissue in healthy individuals. It explains the negative impact of lymphatic dysfunction on adipose tissue and how adipose tissue expansion (obesity) negatively impacts lymphatic function.

Act II deals with the etiology of obesity and explains how genetic, epigenetic, biological, socio-cultural and psychological factors contribute to the development of obesity and morbid obesity. It also highlights how a tremendous increase in sugar consumption has led to an obesity epidemic in many countries.

Act III provides helpful information on the differentiation of lipedema, lipohypertrophy, and obesity, and offers an explanation of why patients with lipedema suffer from subjective complaints, i.e. tissue sensitivity. It highlights obesity as a major cause/contributing factor of not only diabetes, hypertension, arthroses, and sleep apnea, but also lymphedema and lipedema!

Finally, in Act IV, a unique, comprehensive, multidisciplinary therapeutic approach is introduced which helps obese and morbidly-obese patients be successful in managing their disease over the long term. It further highlights why traditional approaches, such as diet and exercise alone are likely to fail to result in long-term weight loss in patients who are morbidly obese with a BMI ≥40. Patient case studies at the end of Act Four illustrate the tremendous therapeutic results that can be achieved with a multi-modal, multidisciplinary approach.

In summary, obesity is a very complex issue but must be addressed during treatment of patients suffering from lymphedema and lipedema! To assure long-term therapeutic success, it is not enough to just treat the lymphedema or lipedema. Providers must look at the whole picture, including diseases which lead to the lymphedema and lipedema, particularly obesity.

Leave a Reply