Lymphedema refers to swelling that usually happens in one of the arms or legs. Often both arms or both legs swell. Lymphedema is most popularly created by the removal of or damage to the lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. Lymphedema results from a blockage in the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. The blockage protects lymph fluid from draining well, and the fluid buildup generates to swelling. While there is presently no way to cure for lymphedema, it can be controlled with early diagnosis and diligent care of the affected limb.
Symptoms of Lymphedema
Lymphedema symptoms, which happens in the affected arm or leg, contain:
1) Swelling of part or all of arm or leg, including fingers or toes
2) A feeling of tightness
3) Restricted range of motion
4) Aching or discomfort
5) Recurring infections
6) Cystic Fibrosis disease
The swelling caused by lymphedema symptoms ranges from simple, hardly noticeable changes in the size of the arm or leg to extreme modifications that create the limb hard to use. Lymphedema caused by cancer disease treatment may not happen until months or years after treatment.
The lymphatic system is significant for keeping the body healthy. It regulates protein-rich lymph fluid throughout the body, taking bacteria, viruses, and waste products. The lymphatic system carries this fluid and harmful materials through the lymph vessels, which generate to lymph nodes. The wastes are then filtered out by lymphocytes infection-fighting cells that live in the lymph nodes and finally flushed from the body.
Lymphedema causes when the lymph vessels are unable to adequately drain lymph fluid, generally from an arm or leg. Lymphedema can be either primary or secondary. This means it can happen on its own, or Lymphedema caused by another disease or situation. Secondary lymphedema is far more prevalent than primary lymphedema. These are the causes of Lymphedema disease.
Complications of Lymphedema
Lymphedema in the arm or leg can generate severe complications of Lymphedema, like:
1) Infections: Possible infections that can result from lymphedema involve a severe bacterial infection of the skin and an infection of the lymph vessels. The smallest injury to the arm or leg can be an entry point for infection.
2) Lymphangiosarcoma: This rare form of soft tissue cancer can output from the most serious cases of not treated lymphedema. Possible signs of lymphangiosarcoma involve blue-red or purple marks on the skin.
These two things should arise from Lymphedema complications
If you are at risk of lymphedema, for example, if you have recently had cancer surgery, including the lymph nodes, the doctor may diagnosis lymphedema disease depends on the signs and symptoms.
If the diagnosis of the lymphedema disease is not as obvious, the doctor may order imaging tests to get a look at the lymph system. Examines may contain:
1) MRI Scan
2) CT scan
3) Doppler ultrasound
Treatments of Lymphedema
There is no cure for lymphedema. Treatment of Lymphedema aims at minimizing the swelling and managing the pain. Lymphedema treatments include:
3) Pneumatic compression
4) Compression garments
Prevention of Lymphedema
If you have had or you are going to have cancer surgery, question the doctor whether the process will involve the lymph nodes or lymph vessels. Ask if the radiation treatment will be focused on lymph nodes, so you will be aware of the possible risks to prevent Lymphedema disease. To minimize the chance of lymphedema prevention, try to:
1) Protect your arm or leg
2) Avoid heat on the arm or leg
3) Avoid tight clothing
4) Keep the arm or leg clean