Size 14 woman branded ‘obese’ by doctors because of rare leg condition

Danielle Thornton has been diagnosed with ipoedema, a disease caused by an abnormal build-up of fat cells in various parts of the body. She first noticed her legs becoming swollen at the age of 14

Danielle Thornton
Danielle Thornton is fundraising for liposuction

A woman who said she was branded “obese” by doctors has been diagnosed with a rare chronic condition that causes her legs to swell up.

Danielle Thornton first noticed her legs becoming swollen at the age of 14 and, despite being a fit and active teenager, she found herself being bullied due to her physical appearance.

The 33-year-old woman said she visited doctors “constantly” over the past 20 years and after being labelled as obese, she tried many different diets.

Danni, a proposal manager from Coventry, said she also walked 20,000 steps per day and visited the gym daily in a bid to shrink her legs, but nothing worked.

The woman said she was labelled ‘obese’ by doctors


Danielle Thornton / CATERS NEWS)

After visiting a specialist in London in July, she was diagnosed with Lipoedema, an incurable disease caused by an abnormal build-up of fat cells in various parts of the body.

Not only does Danni struggle with her appearance, she now suffers excruciating pain every day and is unable to get out of bed or walk across the room without being in agony as her condition has progressed.

Despite her healthy and active lifestyle, the circumference of both her thighs and calves increased by 4cm in just a few months and is continuing to grow.

The NHS and Danni’s own private medical insurance will not cover treatment for Lipoedema – which involves removing the fat from her legs – because it is considered to be cosmetic surgery.

Danni was diagnosed with a rare condition this summer


Danielle Thornton / CATERS NEWS)

Danni, who has a size 14 waist but has to wear size 18 trousers in order to get them over her legs, said: “I hate the way I look but it’s not just about that, the pain is unbearable. It’s horrific at times.

“I find myself dragging my feet and legs across the floor because they just feel too heavy for me to move.

“I’ve been in constant agony since I was a teenager and it’s only getting worse.

“I went to an all-girls secondary school and became aware of a difference between me and the other girls almost instantly.

“I was very athletic and into dance and drama, I started to get an hourglass waist but my legs were huge. I looked like I had been sewn together completely wrong.

The woman said the condition causes her legs to swell up


Danielle Thornton / CATERS NEWS)

“I’ve never been able to wear boots because they won’t fit around my calves and I live in baggy trousers because nothing else fits.

“Treatment won’t cure it but it will make the condition easier to live with and without sounding dramatic that would honestly change my life.”

Danni has recently set up a GoFundMe page and hopes to raise £6,000 so that she can travel to Poland for specialist treatment – which involves removing 10 litres of Lipoedema fat from her legs in a single operation.

Her condition affects her legs, bottom, stomach and arms, but as her legs cause her the most pain she is desperate for help with those.

Danielle said she tried dozens of diets and had an active lifestyle but nothing worked


Danielle Thornton / CATERS NEWS)

She added: “Despite the fact that I was exercising and eating a healthy diet, I couldn’t figure out why my legs were getting bigger.

“I had constant doctor visits where I was told that I simply needed to go on a diet, that I was obese, that I should try water tablets, and that I should move more but I had a feeling there was something wrong with my health.

“I would not have recognised the symptoms if it hadn’t been for the other ladies speaking out about Lipoedema on Facebook and Instagram.

“I’m not normally the type to ask for help and I am continuing to save as much money as I can but the costs involved are extortionate.

“I just want to reduce the pain so that I can enjoy my life and help make others aware of the condition.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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