What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an over-accumulation of protein-rich fluid that causes abnormal swelling in one or more areas of the body. Lymphedema occurs when the lymphatic system is not working properly. It most commonly affects the arms and legs, but can also afflict the face, neck, abdomen or genitals.
Grand View Hospital offers a dedicated Lymphedema Therapy Program designed to help you manage this specific condition.
What Causes Lymphedema?
Lymphedema can happen at any age. Although the cause can be unknown, lymphedema most commonly results from:
- Lymph node removal
- Radiation therapy
- Surgery or injury insulting the lymphatic system
What are the Symptoms of Lymphedema?
Symptoms may occur immediately after an insult to the lymphatic system or years later. Early signs of lymphedema may include:
- Heaviness, tightness or pressure without any visible swelling
- Tightness of clothing or jewelry
- Abnormal swelling, numbness or tingling
Is there Treatment for Lymphedema?
Although there is no cure for lymphedema, it can be effectively managed. Early detection is the key. Treatment is most effective when started early, so talk with your doctor as soon as you notice any signs of lymphedema.
If left untreated, lymphedema can worsen, causing affected areas to become thicker and more swollen. In fact, untreated lymphedema increases your risk for serious skin infection and abnormalities.
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