Lymphedema refers to swelling that generally occurs in one of your arms or legs. Sometimes both arms or both legs swell. It is is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment.
WHAT IS LYMPHEDEMA?
Lymphedema is a condition that causes swelling in one or both of the arms and legs. While there is no known cure for this condition, with early diagnosis and proper care, it can be effectively managed. Dr. Jaime Schwartz and his expert team at Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, CA are highly trained in diagnosing and treating all severities of lymphedema. If you recently had surgery on or damage to your lymph nodes and think you might be suffering from the adverse effects of lymphedema, contact us today to start your treatment immediately.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LYMPHEDEMA?
The primary symptom of lymphedema is swelling, which can range from moderate to severe, depending on the specific case. While some patients may have almost imperceptible swelling, others may find it hard to even use the affected limb(s). In addition to the aforementioned swelling, other symptoms may include:
- A feeling of heaviness or tightness
- Restricted range of motion
- Aching or discomfort
- Recurring infections
- Hardening and thickening of the skin
CAUSES AND DIAGNOSIS
When lymph vessels cannot properly drain lymphatic fluid, it causes a blockage that leads to swelling. This complication is what is known as lymphedema. The lymphatic system is meant to transport this lymphatic fluid throughout the rest of the body, flushing away harmful bacteria, viruses, and waste. However, blockage prevents this process from happening and keeps these destructive microorganisms stagnant within the body.
Lymphedema can have two causes known as primary and secondary. Primary lymphedema occurs naturally on its own while secondary lymphedema is caused by external factors, such as surgery, radiation treatment, cancer, and infection. The vast majority of lymphedema cases are secondary. Primary lymphedema is rare and usually genetic with links to Milroy’s and Meige’s diseases.
Only a physician should diagnose a lipoma. Although they are rarely serious, they could be confused with a cancerous mass. Anytime a lump is discovered on the body, the growth should be examined and potentially biopsied by your doctor. Dr. Schwartz will rule out the possibility of cancer before helping you understand your condition and potential treatment options.
WHAT ARE MY TREATMENT OPTIONS?
As of this writing, there is currently no cure for lymphedema. Treatment options are solely focused on preventing future swelling and possibly reducing the swelling that has already occurred. The earlier the condition is diagnosed and the treatment can begin, the better the results from it will be. In some cases, patients may often forget they’ve even been diagnosed with lymphedema, provided they continue to take adequate care of themselves and follow the proper techniques. Treatment for lymphedema may consist of:
- Compression sleeves or stockings
- Massage therapy
- Pneumatic pumps
- Weight loss
- Cancer treatment