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Lymphedema

Lymphedema refers to swelling of an arm or leg that is the direct result of a blockage in the lymphatic system. When lymph fluid cannot drain normally, the fluid builds up and results in uncomfortable swelling of one or more limbs. The condition is particularly prevalent in cancer survivors who have damaged or removed lymph nodes as a result of their disease and cancer treatment.

Symptoms of Lymphedema

Symptoms of lymphedema can range from very mild to uncomfortable enough to get in the way of daily activities. Common symptoms include:

  • Achiness or heaviness in the affected limb(s)
  • Swelling in the entire limb, including fingers or toes
  • Reduced flexibility and mobility in the affected limb
  • Skin changes in the affected limb, including tightening and discoloration
  • Recurring infections or sores in the affected limb

Lymphedema as a result of cancer treatment may not appear for months, or even years, after treatment. When symptoms appear, it is important to see a doctor for a thorough evaluation, diagnosis and treatment program to control symptoms and effectively manage the condition.

 Treatment for Lymphedema

There is no cure for lymphedema at this time, but the condition can be effectively managed to minimize symptoms and prevent painful complications. Treatment options for lymphedema include:

  • Good nutrition and regular exercise
  • Cleaning of the affected limb daily to prevent infection
  • Protection of the affected limb through gloves, socks and other protective gear
  • Bandaging of the limb to encourage lymph flow into the body
  • Compression garments that reverse lymph flow and reduce swelling

Lymphedema can be a painful condition that impacts a patient’s quality of life. If you are dealing with the uncomfortable symptoms of lymphedema, contact Specialty Vein Care to learn more about how to effectively manage the condition.