Lymphedema

Description:
Lymphedema is an abnormal buildup of fluid that causes swelling, most often in the arms and legs. The condition occurs when lymph vessels or nodes are missing, damaged, or impaired. Lymphedema is often triggered due to surgeries (mastectomy / lumpectomy), radiation therapy, and obesity.

Symptoms of Lymphedema:

  • Swelling in the arms, hands, fingers, chest, or legs
  • Skin tightening
  • Decreased flexibility of the hand, wrist, or elbow


Treatment:
Lymphedema treatments vary depending on the cause and severity of the disease, but lifestyle changes are an important part of any treatment. Diet, exercise, bandages, compression clothing, manual lymph draining and massage are common treatments as well. Lifestyle changes that effect lymphedema are the inclusion of three to four servings of fruits and vegetables daily, reduction of foods high in salt and fat, consuming foods high in fiber, and consuming a minimum of 64 oz. of water per day. Aerobic exercises should be performed two to three times per week for at least 30 minutes.