What Is Lymphedema?
Thu, 05/16/2013 - 8:05am | Christine Hoban
People who have been treated for cancer and had lymph nodes removed are at risk of developing a debilitating condition called lymphedema, which causes swelling in any part of the body, but most commonly the arms or legs. While it is a chronic condition, there are many ways to treat and manage the disease.
At Good Shepherd, we have specially trained occupational and physical therapists at several outpatient sites who can help patients manage the disease. Lymphedema therapists have received advanced training and may be certified by the Lymphology Association of North America.
Causes of Lymphedema
Lymphedema is caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid, which consists of proteins, water, fats, cellular waste and even foreign cells, such as bacteria. The lymphatic vessels drain this fluid from your tissues and carry it to the lymph nodes. These nodes filter the fluid to remove waste and toxic substances. Eventually this fluid is returned to the circulatory system. Damage to the lymphatic system causes the lymphatic fluid to build up in the tissues, causing swelling.
There are two types of lymphedema:
Symptoms of Lymphedema
Treatment of Lymphedema
Lymphedema therapy consists of the following:
Although lymphedema is a chronic condition, with the right treatment patients can expect to lead normal, healthy lives. If your physician has diagnosed you with this condition, contact Good Shepherd for an appointment for lymphedema therapy.