Lymphedema is a troubling condition that affects the lymph nodes. The term lymphedema itself actually refers to a specific type of swelling related to the lymph nodes. This swelling usually occurs in the arms, the legs, or both. The lymph nodes are a part of the body’s immune system, and they are very important for maintaining our overall health. The immune system is a wide network of different body parts that help to fight off disease, infections, and maintain a healthy state of being. The lymph nodes are particularly important because they help to absorb certain types of bacteria and viruses, as well as other forms of bodily waste, before pushing them out of the body. Unfortunately, people who have undergone certain medical issues or who have experienced certain health problems may develop problems with their lymph nodes, such as lymphedema.
The most common thing that can contribute to the problem is the removal or damage of these lymph nodes by surgery or certain types of cancer treatments. In these cases, the lymph nodes may be unable to drain properly. The resulting buildup of fluid leads to certain blockages in the lymphatic system, and this can contribute to the swelling and other symptoms associated with lymphedema.
There isn’t currently a cure for lymphedema recommended by the medical community. However, if you catch the condition early on, you can manage it and help to reduce the symptoms. Taking care of the affected areas will make it much easier to live with lymphedema. If you think you are developing this condition, then it could be useful to read this list of symptoms. If you think that you are experiencing lymphedema, then you should seek medical help.
Symptom #1: Swelling of the Arms and Legs
One of the most common trademark symptoms of lymphedema is a significant swelling in the arms and legs. This occurs as the lymph nodes struggle to drain their lymphatic fluid. The result is that this fluid builds up under the skin and can contribute to visible swelling in areas near the lymph nodes.
The swelling can range in intensity. In the early stages or in cases of mild lymphedema, the swelling will hardly be noticeable. In more serious cases, the swelling can significantly change the size of the limb and will be very apparent to the patient and to others.