Lymphedema is swelling the most often occurs in your arms or legs. Usually it occurs in one arm or leg but both can be affected at the same time and occasionally in other parts of the body. When there’s a blockage in you lymph nodes, fluid build up and causes the swelling. The affected body part part must be taken care of to prevent infection.
These are the symptoms of lymphedema:
- Skin tightness
- Swelling of a part of your arm or leg, or the whole arm or leg
- Difficulty moving your arm or leg (loss of range of motion)
- Feeling of heaviness in your arm or leg
- Hardening of your skin
- Difficulty fitting your limbs into your clothing
There are a number of causes of lymphedema, but they are broken down into primary, which means that it has occurred on its own or secondary, which means that another medical condition has caused it. Primary Lymphedema is very rare, but happens mainly in women. The causes of Primary Lymphedema include Milroy’s Disease, Meige’s Disease and Late-Onset Lymphedema.
The causes of Secondary Linclude surgery (lymph nodes or vessels are cut or removed), Radiation Treatment for Cancer, Cancer (tumors blocking the lymphatic system) and Infection which invades the lymph system.
Treatment of lymphedema varies according to the type and progression of the condition. Your doctor may prescribe exercises, massage, lymphedema garments or pneumatic compression. There is no cure for lymphedema, but treatment can reduce the pain and lessen the swelling.