Learn about the disease, illness and/or condition Primary Lymphedema (Lymphedema) including: symptoms, causes, treatments, contraindications and conditions at ClusterMed.info.
Primary Lymphedema (Lymphedema)
|Primary Lymphedema (Lymphedema)|
Primary Lymphedema (Lymphedema) Information
Can lymphedema be prevented?
Primary lymphedema cannot be prevented, but measures can be taken to reduce the risk of developing lymphedema if one is at risk for secondary lymphedema, such as after cancer surgery or radiation treatment. The following steps may help reduce the risk of developing lymphedema in those at risk for secondary lymphedema:
How is lymphedema diagnosed?
A thorough medical history and physical examination are done to rule out other causes of limb swelling, such as edema due to congestive heart failure, kidney failure, blood clots, or other conditions. Often, the medical history of surgery or other conditions involving the lymph nodes will point to the cause and establish the diagnosis of lymphedema. If the cause of swelling is not clear, other tests may be carried out to help determine the cause of limb swelling.
What are complications of lymphedema?
As noted before, secondary infections of the skin and underlying tissues can complicate lymphedema. Inflammation of the skin and connective tissues, known as cellulitis, and inflammation of the lymphatic vessels (lymphangitis) are common complications of lymphedema. Deep venous thrombosis (formation of blood clots in the deeper veins) is also a known complication of lymphedema. Impairment of functioning in the affected area and cosmetic issues are further complications of lymphedema. Those who have had chronic, long-term lymphedema for more than 10 years have a 10% chance of developing a cancer of the lymphatic vessels known as lymphangiosarcoma. The cancer begins as a reddish or purplish lump visible on the skin and spreads rapidly. This is an aggressive cancer that is treated by amputation of the affected limb. Even with treatment, the prognosis is poor, with less than 10% of patients surviving after 5 years.
What are possible treatments for lymphedema?
There is no cure for lymphedema. Treatments are designed to reduce the swelling and control discomfort and other symptoms. Compression treatments can help reduce swelling and prevent scarring and other complications. Examples of compression treatments are:
What are the symptoms of lymphedema?
The swelling of lymphedema usually occurs in one or both arms or legs, depending upon the extent and localization of damage. Primary lymphedema can occur on one or both sides of the body as well. Lymphedema may be only mildly apparent or debilitating and severe, as in the case of lymphatic filariasis (see above), in which an extremity may swell to several times its normal size. It may first be noticed by the affected individual as an asymmetry between both arms or legs or difficulty fitting into clothing or jewelry. If the swelling becomes pronounced, fatigue due to added weight may occur, along with embarrassment and restriction of daily activities. The long-term accumulation of fluid and proteins in the tissues leads to inflammation and eventual scarring of tissues, leading to a firm, taut swelling that does not retain its displacement when indented with a fingertip (nonpitting edema). The skin in the affected area thickens and may take on a lumpy appearance described as an orange-peel (peau d'orange) effect. The overlying skin can also become scaly and cracked, and secondary bacterial or fungal infections of the skin may develop. Affected areas may feel tender and sore, and loss of mobility or flexibility can occur. Other symptoms can accompany the swelling of lymphedema including:
What causes lymphedema?
Primary lymphedema causes Primary lymphedema is an abnormality of an individual's lymphatic system and is generally present at birth, although symptoms may not become apparent until later in life. Depending upon the age at which symptoms develop, three forms of primary lymphedema have been described. Most primary lymphedema occurs without any known family history of the condition.
What does lymphedema look like (pictures)?
Mild lymphedema first may be noticed as a feeling of heaviness, tingling, tightness, warmth, or shooting pains in the affected extremity. These symptoms may be present before there is obvious swelling of an arm or leg. Other signs and symptoms of early or mild lymphedema include:
What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema is swelling in one or more extremities that results from impaired flow of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of specialized vessels (lymph vessels) throughout the body whose purpose is to collect excess lymph fluid with proteins, lipids, and waste products from the tissues. This fluid is then carried to the lymph nodes, which filter waste products and contain infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. The excess fluid in the lymph vessels is eventually returned to the bloodstream. When the lymph vessels are blocked or unable to carry lymph fluid away from the tissues, localized swelling (lymphedema) is the result. Lymphedema most often affects a single arm or leg, but in uncommon situations both limbs are affected.
What is the prognosis for lymphedema?
Lymphedema cannot be cured, but compression treatments and preventive measures for those at risk for secondary lymphedema can help minimize swelling and associated symptoms. As mentioned above, chronic, long-term edema that persists for many years is associated with an increased risk of developing a rare cancer, lymphangiosarcoma.
Where can one get help and support for lymphedema?
Many hospitals and treatment centers have support groups for people dealing with specific chronic conditions. Health care professionals may be able to recommend a local support group for those with lymphedema. The National Lymphedema Network (NLN) (http://www.lymphnet.org/) is a non-profit organization founded in 1988 to provide education and guidance to lymphedema patients, health care professionals, and the general public by disseminating information on the prevention and management of primary and secondary lymphedema.
Diseases & Illnesses Definitions Of The Day
- Sexual Response Cycle (Phases of Sexual Response) ‐ Introduction to the sexual response cycle, Phase 1: Excitement …
- Loeys-Dietz Syndrome ‐ How is Loeys-Dietz syndrome diagnosed?, How is Loeys-Dietz syndrome treated? …
- Epstein-Barr Virus (Infectious Mononucleosis) ‐ How is mono transmitted or spread? What is the incubation period for mono? What is the contagious period for mono? …
- PUVA Therapy (Photochemotherapy) ‐ How effective is PUVA therapy?, How is PUVA therapy administered? …
- Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery) ‐ How does one prepare for eyelid surgery?, How long is the recovery time for eyelid surgery? …
- Congenital Dysplastic Angiectasia (Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome) ‐ Alternative names for Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber (KTW) syndrome …
- Colitis ‐
- Clicking in the Ear (Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)) ‐ Can tinnitus be prevented?, Does acupuncture treat tinnitus symptoms? …
- Ephelides (Freckles) ‐ Are freckles inherited?, Are there home remedies for freckles? …
- Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (Endoscopy) ‐ How do I prepare for endoscopy?, What are the risks of endoscopy? …