A buildup of lymph fluid in your arms or legs can result in lymphedema, causing uncomfortable and sometimes disabling swelling. If you have lymphedema, Razieh Mohseni, MD, of Vein Clinics of Lake County, and Wound Care Center can help using effective, nonsurgical methods. To find out more or book an appointment, call the practice's Concord, Madison, or Middlefield, Ohio, office today or schedule a consultation using the online form.
Lymphedema is a condition affecting your lymphatic system that causes swelling in one or both arms or legs.
Your lymphatic system forms a vital part of your immune system. Protein-rich lymph fluid circulates throughout your body, picking up harmful microorganisms and waste products.
Lymph vessels carry the fluid to your lymph nodes, where you have infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes that deal with any viruses or bacteria. Swelling develops when there's a blockage in your lymphatic system that stops lymph fluid from draining away.
Symptoms of lymphedema occur in the affected limbs and include:
The swelling lymphedema causes could be barely noticeable or make the limb so big it's hard to use.
Lymphedema can be primary (occurring on its own) but this is unusual. You're most likely to get secondary lymphedema, the main causes of which are:
Tumors that develop near your lymph nodes or vessels could block lymph fluid flow if they get big enough.
Removing the lymph nodes and vessels as part of cancer surgery can cause secondary lymphedema. It's also possible for damage to occur to the lymph nodes during surgery involving the blood vessels in your limbs.
Radiation for cancer can trigger inflammation and scarring of your lymph nodes or vessels.
Infection and parasites can affect the flow of lymph fluid, but this is more likely in tropical and subtropical climates.
There's no cure for lymphedema, but the team at Vein Clinics of Lake County, and Wound Care Center provides treatments that help reduce the swelling and discomfort. They include:
Light exercise can promote fluid drainage in the affected limbs. Your therapist can show you how to perform gentle movements that contract the muscles without tiring you out.
Applying a bandage to the entire limb helps lymph fluid return from your arm or leg into your body. Dressings need to be tight around your toes or fingers, then gradually loosen as they go up your arm or leg to push the fluid in the right direction.
Manual lymph drainage is a type of massage that can help encourage lymph fluid flow.
Compression sleeves or stockings squeeze your limb to help get the lymph fluid moving. You could also try pneumatic compression using an inflatable sleeve.
Severe lymphedema might require surgery to remove excess tissue.
If you have symptoms of lymphedema, call Vein Clinics of Lake County, and Wound Care Center today or book an appointment online.