The first step towards treating a condition is knowing what it is. If you think you have lymphoedema then you need to read this. Below outlines the basic facts about this condition.
Facts About Lymphoedema
Fact #1: Lymphoedema could happen when the lymphatic system is damaged or blocked.
Lymphoedema is a condition characterized by fluid buildup in soft body tissues. It can lead to swelling, discomfort, and at some point, limitations in physical movement. It can happen when the lymphatic system is blocked or damaged.
The lymphatic system is a network of lymphatic vessels, organs, and tissues that carry the lymphatic fluid (also called as the lymph) all throughout the body. The lymph contains lymphocytes which help in fighting infection as well as in inhibiting the growth of tumors.
Lymphoedema may happen after cancer or its treatment. The risk for developing lymphoedema is higher if cancer treatment involves removal of the lymph nodes. The more lymph nodes are removed during the procedure, the higher is one’s risk of having lymphoedema.
Fact #2: There are two different types of lymphoedema.
One could either have a primary or secondary lymphoedema. Primary lymphoedema usually happens as a result of abnormal development of the lymphatic system. The symptoms may occur at birth or later in life.
Secondary lymphoedema, on the other hand, can result from damaged to the lymphatic system. This is the type of lymphoedema most breast cancer patients develop.
Fact #3: Lymphoedema can lead to swelling of the arms and legs.
Swelling of the arms and legs is one of the distinct symptoms of this condition. It may be accompanied with a heavy feeling on the affected site, tight feeling in the skin, itchiness, burning sensation, pain, and in severe cases, limitations in physical movement.
Fact #4: Stages may be used to describe lymphoedema.
Lymphoedema comes in four different stages - stage 0, I, II, and III.
A person is at stage 0 if he/she is observed to be at risk of developing lymphoedema. Stages I, II, and III describe the progression of the condition, usually characterized by the quality of the swelling. At stage III, a person can suffer from other skin changes like thickening of the skin and changes in skin texture.
Fact #5: Compression garments can help alleviate the symptoms of lymphoedema.
Compression therapy can help in alleviating the symptoms of lymphoedema. Some compression garments are made using the latest FIR technology which does not just help in boosting the lymph and blood circulation but also helps in the skin’s healing process.
Aside from compression therapy, there are other ways to alleviate the symptoms of lymphoedema. If you aren’t sure what type of lymphoedema treatment you need, then it’s best to see a specialist to find the best option for you.
Image: Pedro Ribeiro Simoes