Today, we’d like to share all of the hard facts about Lymphoedema. Our guide will define this health condition and it will also discuss the most common causes of the condition, as well as its signs and symptoms. As well, we’ll let you know what the most common and successful treatment options are.
What is Lymphoedema?
This is a health condition which is characterized by swelling of one arm or the legs. In some cases, both legs or both arms are affected.
Unfortunately, at this point, there is no cure for this disorder. However, managing the condition is possible and it’s easier to manage it when you catch it early. This is why seeing a doctor when swelling becomes noticeable is important.
If you are experiencing swelling of an arm, both arms or both legs, it’s important to seek out medical attention right away. Our guide to Lymphoedema isn’t designed to be a substitute for proper medical care from a licensed physician.
Now, let’s share some more important information about Lymphoedema…
Causes of Lymphoedema
Usually, this health problem begins due to lymph node damage or removal. It may also be triggered by treatment for cancer.
It happens because the lymphatic system is blocked. The lymphatic system is an element of the body’s immune system. When it gets blocked, lymph fluid doesn’t drain and the build-up of fluid causes swelling.
Signs & Symptoms of Lymphoedema
If you experience swelling in the areas that we discussed (one arm, both arms or both legs), this swelling may be a symptom of Lymphoedema. Swelling in the arm or arms usually extends to the fingers. Swelling in the legs generally extends to the toes. As well, you may feel a sense of tightness or heaviness in the afflicted area.
Another possible sign of this health issue is trouble moving. Your range of motion may become restricted. As well, you may experience aches in the affected area(s), as well as general discomfort. Some people experience infections which recur while they have this health problem.
Lastly, you may notice that your skin is harder and thicker. This symptom is known as fibrosis.
There are four stages of this health problem. Stage 0 is the latency phase and swelling is not visible. During Stage 1, symptoms are experienced which may be reversed spontaneously. Stage 2 also features spontaneously reversible symptoms. The Stage 3 type of Lymphoedema will cause Elephantiasis which is Lymphostatic. Elephantiasis causes extreme swelling.
Since this health issue occurs on a spectrum, it’s best to get help as soon as you can, rather than seeking out help when Stage 3 is present or seems to be developing. When this condition is advanced, swelling is very pronounced and the color of the skin may change. As well, hyperplasia which is wart-like may occur, and papillomatosis and hyperkeratosis may occur.
With this in mind, let’s talk about treatment options…
In general, the first recommended treatment for this condition is physical therapy of the complex variety. This typically involves lymphatic drainage which is manual, along with exercise and massage. This type of combination therapy is usually quite effective.
Also, most people who get this type of treatment are advised to wear compression socks (compression stockings) with compression levels of at least 40mm Hg. It’s possible to find high-quality compression stockings with this level of compression online, via Web-based suppliers and they should also be available in your community.
Other options include pneumatic pumps and multi-layer bandages. It’s important to keep legs elevated frequently if the legs are swollen.
Talk to Your Doctor Today
Now that you know more about this health issue and its causes, symptoms and treatment options, you’ll be ready to move forward and get the medical assistance that you need. This disorder isn’t curable. However, it is treatable and this is why visiting your doctor will help you to reduce the swelling, pain and loss of mobility.
Again, we can’t overstress the importance of seeing a doctor as soon as the swelling begins. It’s the best way to access effective treatment which will help you to avoid the more severe aspects of advanced Lymphoedema.
Hopefully, our quick guide has given you the information that you need. This condition may occasionally affect the head and neck. When it does, it’s usually due to radiation therapy. This is a rarer form of the condition. Most people only experience swelling in one limb or two limbs.
Lymphedema is quite common, except for the rarest forms, and it may be debilitating. Thankfully, there are useful treatments which help people to feel better and to enjoy better quality of life. When you receive the right treatment plan from your doctor, you’ll be ready to get the help that you need. It all starts with dropping by your doctor’s office today.