Lymphedema is swelling due to the build-up of lymph fluids in the body. Lymph nodes act as a drain in the sink. The lymph system is a network of lymph vessels, tissues, and organs that carry lymph throughout the body. It occurs when lymph is not able to flow through the body the way that it should. The illness usually affects the arm or leg, but it can also affect other parts of the body. However, it can also cause long-term physical, psychological and social problems for patients.
Types of Lymphedema.
Primary – this form of lymphedema is not directly attributable to another medical coding. However, there are three types of primary.
• Congenital – occurs when the lymph system is not properly developed at birth. However, the condition may be genetic in nature or sporadic.
• Lymphedema praecox- this type of lymphedema manifests itself before 35 years, between the ages of 2 and 35 years.
• Late-onset – this arises in individuals who are beyond 35 years old.
Secondary – is acquired and results from damage to the lymphedema vessels. However, it can also be due to functional deficiency. Secondary lymphedema is far more common than the primary one.
Swelling of part of the arm or leg.
A feeling of heaviness or tightness.
Hardening and thickening of the skin.
Discomfort or aching.
Difficulty wearing jewelry or shoes.
Lymphedema occurs when lymph vessels are not able to adequately drain lymph fluid. However, the most common causes include:
Cancer- if cancer cells block lymph vessels the illness may result. For instance, a tumor growing near a lymph node or lymph vessel could enlarge. This can block the flow of the lymph fluid.
Parasites- the most common cause of is an infection with thread-like worms that clog the lymph.
Surgery- in cancer, surgery, lymph nodes are often removed to see if the disease has spread. However, this doesn’t always result in lymphedema.
Radiation treatment for cancer- this can cause scarring and inflammation of lymph nodes or lymph vessels.
There is no cure for the illness. However, treatment focuses on reducing the swelling and preventing complications.
Medications- lymphedema greatly increases the risk of skin infections. Therefore, doctors may prescribe antibiotics for you to keep on hand.
Therapy- therapists can teach you about techniques and equipment that can help reduce lymphedema swelling. Additional, examples include exercises, compression bandages, manual lymph drainage.
Surgical- surgical treatment for lymphedema may include;
Lymphy node transplant.
New drainage paths.
Removal of fibrous tissue.