Stages of Lymphedema
Changes in Every Lymphedema Stage
Stage 0 Lymphedema
Lymphedema is one of those skin conditions that develop slowly. Changes under the skin specifically in the tissues may start to happen but there are barely signs indicating these changes. But because the abnormal accumulation of lymph starts to happen, there would be occasional feeling of “heaviness” on the affected area.
When you start feeling something unusual under your skin, you shouldn’t ignore it. Take advantage of it instead and consult a specialist. Prompt treatment of lymphedema at this stage increases the chance of keeping it from progressing.
Stage 1 Lymphedema
In stage 1 lymphedema, changes on the skin are becoming more obvious. There is usually the presence of pitting edema and the veins on top of hands or foot may no longer be that visible. Many people with stage 1 lymphedema experience improvement of swelling at night but returns during the day.
This stage is highly reversible. It’s because at this point, there’s no extensive damage yet on the soft tissues. People who have sought treatment immediately while at still stage 1 lymphedema experience relief from symptoms and don’t progress to further stages.
Stage 2 Lymphedema
When earlier stages of lymphedema are left unmanaged, then it can progress to more “advanced” stages. In stage 2, connective tissue fibrosis starts to develop. At this point, the swelling can have a “spongy” consistency and the edema responds less to elevation. Unlike stage 1, the swelling doesn’t resolve upon walking and when the skin is pressed upon, the indentation remains.
Stage 2 lymphedema is also known as the spontaneously irreversible lymphedema. It’s because of the formation of fibrosis and continuous thickening of the tissues on the limbs.
Stage 3 Lymphedema
Stage 3 lymphedema is the worst case of lymphedema. At this stage, the swelling becomes so severe that the affected part becomes very large. The increasing size of the region or limb can be a great source of discomfort or pain.
Aside from the progression in swelling, the skin also becomes dry and scaly. There can be leaking of the fluid and formation of blisters containing the lymph.
Treatment for stage 3 lymphedema is done to address the risk of infection, improve the function of the affected site, and prevent further progression of connective tissue fibrosis.
While there is no cure for this condition, there are things that can be done to keep the stages of lymphedema from progressing.One of which is the use of compression garments especially during the earlier stages. Bioflect Therapy Garments have one of the most comfortable compression garments which help in promoting good blood and lymph flow.