Lymphedema occurs when the lymph vessels are not able to adequately drain lymph fluid, usually from an arm or leg. The most common causes of lymphedema include: Cancer. If cancer cells block lymph vessels, lymphedema may result.
Lymphedema can't be cured, but you can control the swelling and keep it from getting worse. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight may make it better, but "water pills" usually won't. Specialized lymphedema therapists can also help you manage the condition.
Common signs and symptoms of lymphedema can include: Swelling in part of the body (such as your breast, chest, shoulder, arm, or leg) Skin feeling tight or hard, changing in texture, looking red, or feeling hot. New aching, tingling, numbness, or other discomfort in the area.
Lymphedema itself is not a life-threatening condition, but it does put you at risk for serious infections, which can lead to tissue death or sepsis. Regular medical care with a vascular specialist can help reduce the risk of lymphedema complications.
When the duration of illness is prolonged, the lymphedema may develop into lymphangiosarcoma. The life expectancy of a patient with this condition is limited to a few months to 2 years , .
Left untreated, lymphedema can worsen and cause severe swelling and permanent changes to the tissues under the skin, such as thickening and scarring.
Does drinking water help with lymphedema? Absolutely! Because the body is more prone to hold onto excess liquid when it feels dehydrated, drinking enough water is especially important for those with lymphedema so they can maintain a healthy fluid and chemical balance.
In the U.S, primary lymphedema is rare and affects only 1 in 100,000 people. Secondary lymphedema affects around 1 in 1,000 Americans. It's most common in women who have been treated for breast cancer.
Foods That Can Make Lymphedema Worse
Below are 10 ways to help create flow in your lymphatic system and remove toxins from your body.
Nov 1, 2021
In stage 1, fluid starts to collect in the affected area and causes swelling. You may notice that the affected area looks puffy. Elevating your limb will help the swelling to go away. The edema is soft and may leave an impression when you push on the skin, called 'pitting edema'.
Resistance training may be the best choice of exercise for reducing lymphedema. Resistance training is the most frequently investigated form of exercise for lymphedema patients, and appears to show the greatest lymphedema-specific benefit.
Stage 1 is early edema, which improves with limb elevation. Stage 2 represents pitting edema that does not resolve with elevation. Stage 3 describes fibroadipose deposition and skin changes. The severity of lymphedema is categorized as mild (<20% increase in extremity volume), moderate (20–40%), or severe (>40%).
Gentle exercises, such as walking, are a great way to help the fluids in your body move a little better. Try to go for a walk every day, if you can. We have listed some exercises below that will help you maintain flexibility and strength. Talk with your healthcare provider before you start doing any exercises.
Lymphedema can indeed encourage the body to retain more fat, resulting in weight gain that happens slowly. The fluid that accumulates on the lymphedematous limb can cause overall weight gain. The process is usually gradual and may be difficult to notice within a short duration.
At first, the swelling is soft and fluid. In time, it can become more dense and fibrous, and it may make your skin look grainy. You could also have pain, heaviness, or limited range of motion in the affected limb, which may make it hard to exercise or do other activities.
Lymphedema can cause swelling of a toe or toes all the way to extreme swelling of one or both legs. Symptoms also include restricted movement and feeling heavy or tight along the whole leg. There can be leg pain and aching.
What Are Signs and Symptoms of Cancerous Lymph Nodes?
Hold the swollen part of your body above the level of your heart several times a day. In some cases, elevating the affected body part while you sleep may be helpful. Massage. Stroking the affected area toward your heart using firm, but not painful, pressure may help move the excess fluid out of that area.