Custom Fit Therapies, Inc.
What Causes Lymphedema?
There are two categories of Lymphedema:
1) Primary: which is genetic or hereditary and appears at infancy, puberty, and at approximately age thirty-five.
2) Secondary: which may be caused by a large array of reasons – surgery, cancer, metastatic carcinoma, radiation therapy, trauma/ burn, infection/ inflammation/ allergy, paralysis (“wheelchair edema”), chronic venous insufficiency, lipolymphedema, filariasis, medication, silica dust, factitious/ self induced.
What are the Signs of Lymphedema?
The earliest signs may be sensory changes. The tissues may feel thicker, the skin may feel tight, or there may be deep discomfort in the tissues. There may be pain in the arm – axilla, or leg-inguinal, or nerve-impingement systems such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Lymphedema may be a localized intermittent swelling of any part of the extremity, i.e. jewelry may sometimes feel too tight, or shoes that are normally comfortable causing discomfort.
What is the Treatment for Lymphedema?
See your doctor at the earliest sign of a problem. Seek a referral to a specialist trained in the treatment of lymphedema. The optimum treatment consists of a multi-modality approach that should include the following: Treatment phase – Manual lymphatic drainage, compression bandaging, skin care and hygiene education, lymphatic system and compression. Management phase - Self Manual lymphatic drainage, self compression bandaging, purchase of compression garments – day and night time wear, and self-monitoring along with exercise and appropriate body weight.