Lymphoedema: How to get rid of it!
Have you noticed persistent inflammation in any of your limbs? Or have you experienced a sudden size increase on arms or legs? If that´s your case, you might have lymphoedema. But don’t worry! In this blog, I want to share with you the causes, types, stages and available treatments. Let´s start…
What is lymphoedema?
It is a chronic condition witch main symptom is swelling (specially limbs). Most patients notice it in arms and legs, but people can develop it in any part of the body.
What causes lymphoedema?
This long-term condition is caused by failures in your lymphatic system (network of channels and glands) which is in charge of helping to fight infections and remove excess fluids and wastes from your body. In other words, when fluids get stocked, cannot be drained and eliminated, they start to build up producing inflammation.
Caused by gene failures. In other words, there is something in your genes that affect the proper development of your lymphatic system. This can appear at any age.
The failure in the lymphatic system is due to:
- cancer treatment
- lack of movement
What are the principal signs of lymphoedema?
Some symptoms of lymphoedema are:
- Swelling in any part of your body ( specially limbs)
- Movements restrictions
- Repeated skin infections
- Development of fibrosis (hard lumps)
- Fluid leaking through the skin (severe cases)
Signs in head:
- facial sensation of heaviness (also in mouth or throat)
- speech difficulties
What are the 4 stages of lymphoedema?
The stages of this condition are determined according to the severity.
- No visible swelling or pitting (temporary indentation in the skin when pressing).
- You can have it for years without notice any symptom.
1(early or mild)
- Lymph starts to accumulate
- visible swelling
- No permanent damage to the skin or underlying tissues.
- Specialist consider it reversible
- Visible swelling
- High risk of skin infection
- Inner inflammation, hardening, thickening
- Visible swelling
- Enlargement and deformation of the affected area (limb)
- Higher risk of infection
- Lymph leaking through the damaged tissues
How can I get rid of lymphoedema?
Treatment may include:
- Lymphatic drainage massage
- Compression bandages
- Compression stockings
- Sequential pneumatic pumping
- Careful skin care
*Severe cases may need surgery to remove swollen tissue or to create new drainage routes.
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