Brave sis­ters bare their legs of agony

The Cairns Post - - NATION -

PAINFUL fat – a mis­di­ag­nosed and mis­un­der­stood com­mon med­i­cal prob­lem – has brought these three Ade­laide sis­ters to tears for years.

He­len Hughes, 70, Su­san Ba­stick, 68, and Diane Pas­tro, 65, have lipoedema – an in­cur­able, painful and de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tion af­fect­ing 15 per cent of Aus­tralian women. It re­sults in dis­pro­por­tion­ate de­posit of fat cells in thighs, hips, but­tocks and arms.

“There are many, many peo­ple who are be­ing un­fairly judged,” He­len said.

The sis­ters are bar­ing their legs to ex­pose the con­di­tion and lead to more di­ag­no­sis.

The trio are part of re­search in­volv­ing an ex­pert team of South Aus­tralian re­searchers.

Flin­ders Univer­sity Pro­fes­sor Neil Piller says the three-year study will de­ter­mine whether lipoedema is linked to ge­net­ics.

“The study will help us un­der­stand the ge­netic ba­sis of lipoedema, pro­vide us with new tools for di­ag­no­sis and may help us treat the con­di­tion,” Prof Piller said.

The Ade­laide sis­ters are keen to as­sist in find­ing a cure, even though they may not per­son­ally ben­e­fit.

“It’s too late for me,” He­len said. “But it’s what the study can do for my daugh­ters and grand­daugh­ters.”

Pic­ture: TRI­CIA WATKINSON

RE­SEARCH: Sis­ters Diane Pas­tro, He­len Hughes and Sue Ba­stick suf­fer from lipoedema and are bravely bar­ing their legs to raise aware­ness of the con­di­tion.

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