As a lymphatic dysfunction, lymphedema leads to a fluid accumulation that pools around the legs and arms. These areas swell up as this lymph fluid gets stuck in the body.
For those who have been diagnosed with lymphedema, you may be wondering what your treatment options are. Lymphedema therapy is one such option.
What Causes Lymphedema?
Most people who develop lymphedema will have had surgery on their lymph nodes. These can even include breast cancer procedures, as a great portion of lymphedema patients (40 percent) have developed this condition after their surgery.
If lymphedema manifests with no ties to surgery, it’s primary lymphedema. If the condition is caused by surgery, it’s referred to as secondary lymphedema.
With primary lymphedema, the causes could include roundworm infection, specifically Wucheria bancrofti.
What Are the Symptoms?
While limb swelling is the main symptom, if you have a lymphatic dysfunction, you may also have the following:
- Drooling, speaking issues, swallowing issues, and breathing difficulties if lymphedema is in your neck or head
- More frequent infections
- Fluid leaks
- Discoloration of the skin
- Other changes to the skin
- Less mobility and flexibility due to the swelling
What Is Lymphedema Treatment?
There are many means of treating lymphedema that fall under the umbrella of complex/complete decongestive therapy or CDT. These include:
- Exercising regularly to drain the swollen skin pockets
- Keeping skin moisturized and clean, as this prevents infections
- Manual lymphatic drainage, a soft tissue massage done by a specialist that can lessen lymphatic fluid levels
- Compressing and wrapping the area with garments or bandages
If the above treatments do not improve the quality of life of a lymphedema patient, surgery may be recommended.
Those who were recently diagnosed with lymphedema should consider scheduling an appointment at Affiliated Group Practice in Corpus Christi, Texas. You can contact us today to look into your lymphedema treatment options.