Your risk of infection increases if you have conditions like lymphedema and diabetes.

Is there a connection between lymphedema and diabetes?

Lymphedema refers to an abnormal collection of high-protein fluid beneath your skin surface. Swelling or edema is the most common sign of it although some people also complain of pain, tingling sensation, and feeling of heaviness or tightness in the affected areas (the arms and the legs are the most common affected sites).

Lymphedema is a result of damage to the lymphatic system. It can be damage to the lymphatic vessels or lymph nodes.

Diabetes, on the other hand, is a chronic condition that can result when the pancreas produces very little to no insulin at all (Type 1 Diabetes). It can also happen when the body doesn’t respond well to the insulin produced by the pancreas (Type 2 Diabetes).

When both conditions are present and are left unmanaged, they can lead to complications. Diabetes can cause damage to the arteries and capillaries while unmanaged lymphedema can lead to further damage to the lymphatic system. Both diseases can compromise the health of the skin as well as the subcutaneous and connective tissues.

Managing Lymphedema and Diabetes

Like other chronic conditions, complications from both lymphedema and diabetes can be prevented. Some of the ways to manage them include:

  • Regular and excellent skin care
    Skin infection is the most common complication of lymphedema and diabetes. This is why consistent and excellent skin care is highly recommended.

    Applying mild lotion can help in retaining the skin’s moisture and alleviating the itchiness.

  • Manual lymphatic drainage
    This should be done with utmost care as the skin can be fragile, thin, and dry as a result of lymphedema and diabetes.

  • Use of compression garments
    The use of high-quality compression garments is recommended to improve the blood and lymphatic flow. It can be modified to prevent skin irritation and circulatory problems.

Early management of lymphedema and diabetes is the key towards prevention. Once complications like infection and fibrosis have set in, it may require more than just home treatments to alleviate the symptoms.

Image: HansMartinPaul

0 Items