The entire month of March marks “Lymphedema Awareness Month” as those struggling with this condition come together to acknowledge and support one another while also working toward greater awareness of the disease in the hopes for continued improvement in care.
Lymphedema is a condition in which high-protein fluid gathers just below the skin and causes swelling. This usually tends to happen in a leg or an arm but other parts of the body may suffer as well including the neck, head, breast region, genital region, and trunk of the body. When lymph vessels are damaged or lymph nodes are removed, lymphedema can occur and it can also become an issue if vessels are missing completely or somehow lacking to begin with due to a person’s genetics. When the lymph vessels are performing properly, the lymphatic fluid is transported from one region of the body to the next without struggle, but when the flow is interrupted or slowed down, the protein-rich fluid begins to gather and cause inflammation which can also delay the delivery of adequate oxygen and nutrients to the affected area. Bacteria may begin to grow and infections in the area become a lot more common.
Signs of developing lymphedema might include a tightness of the skin, a decrease in flexibility of the area, a heavy sensation and swelling. Early treatment can go a long way toward improving the overall outcome of the condition and its side effects.
There are many efforts that patients can make to help lessen the effects of the disease including wrapping the limb or affected area with a tight bandage. A therapist can show the patient the proper way of doing so. Massage for lymph drainage can also be helpful. Other types of pneumatic compression garments that help encourage the flow of lymph fluid and compression garments that are fitted to the body to help encourage lymph drainage may also be very beneficial.
Lifestyle changes among those who have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure or blood clots may lessen the severity of the condition and relieve many of the symptoms.
Visiting a specialist who treats this type of circulation problem such as the Laser Lipo and Vein Center can help you treat your Lymphedema, keep it from getting worse, and offer you a variety of treatment options for your comfort and overall health. Dr. Wright at the Laser Lipo and Vein center has treated hundreds of patients with similar struggles and can do the same for you.