What is Lymphedema?
Your lymphatic system has multiple, interrelated functions for the body. For example, lymph vessels collect excess lymph fluids, which are proteins, lipids, and wastes, and remove them from tissues. The lymph nodes not only filter these interstitial fluids, but they also contain white blood cells and lymphocytes, which fight infections and illnesses. If these lymph vessels become blocked, the entire system is unable to get rid of the excess fluid and flow properly. This condition is known as lymphedema.
There are two types of lymphedema known as primary and secondary. The first is present at birth whereas the latter develops after the lymphatic system is damaged. The most common cause of lymphedema in the United States is breast cancer treatments such as radiation, but globally a parasite infection known as filariasis is the main culprit. There are four stages of lymphedema and no known cure. If you notice any of these ten symptoms of lymphedema, contact your doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment.
Are you at risk for Lymphedema?
- Do you have heaviness in your arm(s) or Leg(s)?
- Do you have fatigue in your limbs?
- Do you have “puffiness” in your arm(s) or leg(s)?
- Are you able to see the veins in your arm(s) or leg(s)?
- Do you have tightness in your joints?
- Does one of your arm(s) or leg(s) appear to be difference sizes?
- Does your skin feel sponge?
- Does your skin feel dry and scaly?
- Do you have small or large blistering on arm (s) or Leg(s)?
- Are you prone to skin infections?
If you answer any of these question “yes” you many have Lymphedema.
What is Lymphedema
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