Lymphedema is the swelling of a body part, most often affecting arms and legs, but can also affect the face, neck, abdomen, and genitals- and is the result of an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid in the affected area. There are two forms of lymphedema.
The result of a damaged lymphatic system that may be present at birth, but often develops as a teenager without obvious cause.
This is much more common and is affected by millions of people worldwide. Statistics show that secondary lymphedema affects more people than that of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, ALS, and AIDS combined. The term “secondary” implies a known, significant trauma that directly impacts the lymphatic system. It is a commonly seen in patients who have undergone treatment for cancer. Surgery and radiation therapy can damage the lymphatic system. Additional possible causes can be due to a significant injury, scarring, trauma, and skin infections.
As a result of primary or secondary Lymphedema, protein-rich fluid can become trapped in the body, which can lead to tissue fibrosis (scar-tissue), which can exacerbate the current condition and cause mobility restrictions. People with lymphedema are also at greater risk for skin infections.
Treatment for Primary or Secondary Lymphedema
Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) involves manual lymph drainage (MLD), compression bandaging or compression alternative garments, and exercise to assist in reducing the abnormal amount of protein-rich fluid in the affected area and to maintain reduction of the region to allow a more normal shape and function of the body part. Patient graduates from compression bandages into elastic compression garments as the affected area reaches its reduced state.
Education and Disease Management
Patient education in managing this condition is imperative and Synergy will ensure that you receive the guidance you need to understand your condition and to independently manage your symptoms in order to take charge of your life.