Understanding Symptoms of Lymphedema

  It is important to understand lymphedema before considering its symptoms. A malfunctioning of the lymph glands may lead to accumulation of fluids in the extremities of the body, causing a swelling - the condition is described as lymphedema. Trauma to the lymphatic system in the form of surgery, radiation therapy for cancer treatment or removal of lymph nodes may be the root cause. Primary lymphedema is present at birth and usually inherited by the individual. Secondary lymphedema is an acquired condition due to removal or surgery to the lymph nodes or vessels.

Any part of the body may be affected by lymphedema, although the hands and legs are prone to the symptoms. Swelling of the particular limb or a feeling of heaviness or fullness is the first sign. Fluid accumulation in the neck region or patches on the skin with a sense of fullness in the limbs are other symptoms. https://fightlymphedema.com/ The first signs may show up after an injury or trauma to the limb that has undergone surgery. During an airline flight, sudden fall in the cabin pressure may also set off a lymphedema attack. Tightness in the ankles or the wrist, restricting the movement of the fingers or toes is another symptom of lymphedema. At times, you may find that your clothes are suddenly becoming tight or you can no longer wear the bracelet or ring that you could easily wear earlier.

Patients of breast cancer surgery are at a high risk of getting lymphedema. Removing the lymph nodes in the armpit or a mastectomy or lumpectomy changes the pathway of the lymph flow. This may cause a pooling of the fluid, leading to lymphedema. Such symptoms of lymphedema may appear anytime after the surgery. Treatment in the initial period itself will ensure a quick recovery.

Women who have undergone lumpectomy or mastectomy should follow a simple weight lifting program to reduce the symptoms of lymphedema, according to new research. The argument put forward here is that weight lifting gives the arm added strength and protection to ward off lymphedema. It also promotes the circulation of fluids in the arm. Doctors also recommend a daily exercise routine for patients recovering from cancer treatment.

Cancer treatment involving surgery or radiation therapy is the root cause of lymphedema. Therefore, cancer survivors are high risk candidates for this condition and must remain alert to the early symptoms of lymphedema. Mild edema is reversible with treatment so beginning therapy at the first symptoms of lymphedema will prevent the condition from getting out of hand. A nutritious diet that avoids fatty and salty foods is advisable. Moisturizing and cleansing the skin keeps it soft and hydrated, preventing skin infections. Lymphedema patients are prone to infections; therefore, they must take adequate precautions to avoid injuries, bruises and burns which could be entry points for bacteria. Lymphedema has no cure but with proper care and precautions, it can be easily managed.

Peter Hodges has been studying the lymphatic system and how to heal it vigorously since 2003. After many years of research he has now discovered how to heal the lymphatic system, reduce lymphedema swelling and return the body to optimal health.


What is Lymphedema? Definition, Symptoms and Treatment

A swelling in the limbs resulting from the irregular increase of fluids due to the dysfunction of the lymphatic system is known as lymphedema. A network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes are accountable for the transportation of lymphatic fluids to the bloodstream for elimination of harmful substances. If there is an obstruction of this movement due to an injury to this network, fluids will accumulate in one place and cause a swelling. Lymphedema may develop as a result of surgery to the lymph vessels or if they are missing or deformed.

Lymphedema has been categorized into two, primary and secondary lymphedema. Primary lymphedema or hereditary lymphedema is present at birth and is genetically inherited. At times, it may show up during adolescence or during adulthood. Secondary lymphedema is an acquired condition due to various factors like a surgery to the lymph nodes or radiation for cancer treatment. Women may experience lymphedema in the upper body after mastectomy or lumpectomy, while the lower region of the body may be affected due to ovarian or uterine cancer treatment. For men, lymphedema is apparent in the legs on account of treatment for the colon, prostrate or testicular cancer.

There are also few diseases that obstruct the smooth function of the lymphatic system, thus causing lymphedema. Birth defects in the formulation of the lymph glands can also be a cause for dysfunction in the lymphatic system leading to lymphedema, which may be seen in anywhere in the body. Lymphatic filariasis, also identified as elephantiasis is very common in the tropical regions. This is a parasitic infection, spread by mosquitoes, leading to lymphedema symptoms.

Correct diagnosis of lymphedema in the initial stages may at times prove to be difficult. This is because the symptoms develop very slowly and may not be easily noticed. Initially the patient may complain of heaviness in the limb. As there is no fluid buildup, this is only a mild edema which can be treated easily. If left untreated, the condition progresses to a stage where the whole arm or leg will swell due to fluid accumulation. The color of the skin also changes and cysts may be formed. The doctor can diagnose the condition by comparing both the limbs. Severe lymphedema may lead to fibrosis, the more advanced condition of the disease.

Various therapies form part of the lymphedema treatment plan. The severity of the disease is also a deciding factor. Typically, a lymphedema patient may be treated with a combination of massage therapy, compression bandaging, use of compression garments, exercise and skin care. Manual lymph drainage is a massage therapy where the fluids are stimulated to move in the right direction. The lymphedema pump may be also be used. Exercises keep the body flexible and the fluids circulating properly. Skin care helps to ward of infections which is a recurring problem for lymphedema patients. Surgery may be a form of treatment in certain cases which do not respond to conventional therapy.

Peter Hodges has been studying the lymphatic system and how to heal it vigorously since 2003. After many years of research he has now discovered how to heal the lymphatic system, reduce lymphedema swelling and return the body to optimal health.


Support Networks For Lymphedema Patients in the UK

Information and help on Lymphedema was hardly forthcoming until the past few years. However, the numerous Lymphedema patients in UK now rely heavily on a large network of support groups that have been working in the field of Lymphedema. A person diagnosed with Lymphedema is often distressed and finds it difficult to deal with the fact that the ailment has no cure. Since he or she is not aware of other people suffering from a similar condition, there is feeling of isolation and a sense of confusion in dealing with the problem. The association with a support group eases the feeling of isolation because members share experiences and information with others in a similar situation.

The Lymphedema Support Network (LSN) was started in UK in 1991. A charitable organization, it aims to help out Lymphedema patients with guidance and support as well as increasing the awareness of this little known condition. The organization works to obtain better resources for treating Lymphedema in the United Kingdom. It also tries to connect with other health professionals who work in this field. The network of Lymphedema support groups all over Britain is endorsed by the LSN.

Since its commencement in 1991, the LSN has been providing information fact sheets to help the patients. The high level of information made available by LSN has encouraged healthcare professionals and doctors to use the information in clinics and hospitals to treat Lymphedema patients in UK. LSN is a patient-led organization and the members have a deep understanding of Lymphedema from the patient's viewpoint. The self-help videos that have been created for patients are now used as teaching aids for healthcare professionals dealing with Lymphedema. The LSN produces a quarterly newsletter, has a website and offers telephone support for the patients. It campaigns for improvement in healthcare for Lymphedema patients and promotes the self-help support group in UK.

The British Lymphology Society (BLS) is an organization involved in Lymphedema management in Britain. The society is meant for the healthcare professionals who work with Lymphedema patients directly. It acts as a link to the Department of Health in UK and hopes to reassess the guidelines for the long term management of Lymphedema. BLS promotes the awareness of Lymphedema among the general public and the government departments to improve the healthcare for Lymphedema patients. It ensures that the public viewpoint in relation to healthcare reaches the relevant government department to bring about a change in the policies for health care measures. BLS also supports research in the area of Lymphedema.

An association with a Lymphedema support networks in UK ensures that the members receive information and newsletters on how to deal with Lymphedema. Relevant information that would be useful for the patient as regards issues like manual lymph drainage, coping with swellings and infection is offered to the members. There is interaction among members to share their knowledge and information with others and thus helps them to cope better with Lymphedema.



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