Our lymphatic system plays a pivotal role in helping you stay healthy. The lymph nodes comprise part of the lymphatic system and help drain excess fluid from your body. Sometimes, the lymph nodes struggle to reduce the extra liquid, resulting in a debilitating condition called lymphedema. The visible manifestations of the illness can destroy your confidence and take a toll on your body. Here are a few points on how lymphedema starts and what you can do to get your health on track.
How does Lymphedema Start?
Many factors can cause lymphedema to develop. For instance, some cancer treatments involve removing the lymph nodes to help fight the disease but can compromise fluid drainage, resulting in the swelling associated with lymphedema.
Other causes of lymphedema include:
- Radiation-based cancer treatments
- Parasitic infections
- Kidney disease
- Venous insufficiency
Symptoms of Lymphedema
How quickly lymphedema develops depends on the person. In some cases, lymphedema develops over time but can progress rapidly in other situations.
Several signs may indicate the presence of lymphedema, such as thickening skin, swelling in the arms and legs, puffiness, or noticing your extremities are different sizes.
Your healthcare professional can help determine if lymphedema has caused your symptoms. After a physical exam, your doctor may order tests to get a closer look at your organs by using an
- CT Scan
- A Lymphoscintigraphy (A test to check for irregularities in the Lymph Nodes)
Your doctor can help find the best testing method for your needs.
Is Lymphedema Dangerous?
As a chronic illness, lymphedema is not usually life-threatening. But, maintaining adequate drainage is essential to managing your symptoms.
You may also need to change your daily routine by avoiding tight clothing, adopting a healthy diet, and getting exercise to help keep fluid moving through your body. But make sure you get your doctor’s advice before starting a new exercise regimen.
How is Lymphedema Treated?
Treatments for lymphedema can vary based on how the condition originates and its progression. For instance, doctors may treat cancer-related lymphedema differently than others.
Also, elevating the limbs can help resolve mild lymphedema, but more advanced cases require more intense intervention.
If you have questions about lymphedema treatment, don’t hesitate to call one of our 3 locations. Schedule your consultation with Suffolk Vein and Vascular by calling us at (631) 476-9100.