Understanding lymphedema and how to manage your symptoms


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Understanding lymphedema and how to manage your symptoms

  1. 1. Understanding Lymphedema And How To Manage Your Symptoms
  2. 2. Your body is equipped with a lymph system that is basically a network of organs, lymph vessels, nodes and ducts that produce and move fluids from outlying tissues back to the bloodstream. Lymphedema is a state where the body has fluid retention due to the inability of their lymph system to clear the fluids. Lymphedema usually occurs in the feet, legs or arms but may also affect your face or even your torso. Damaged lymphatic vessels is one cause of lymphedema along with a condition known as lymphatic hypoplasia.
  3. 3. Another condition that affects the lymph system is known as lymphangitis which occurs when bacteria gains access to the lymphatic vessels. Usually lymphangitis is caused by a strep bacteria causing erysipelas but sometimes it can be also staph. This can cause the affected area to become red and hot. There may even be red streaks in the skin and as it progresses lymphadenopathy or swelling of the lymph glands. If conditions become dire enough it can even cause the skin to rupture.
  4. 4. Primary lymphedema is a rare condition and considered a genetic disease that is normally treated by surgical procedures. In the case of secondary lymphedema there is usually something that has caused damage to the lymph vessels or channels such as radiation or surgical treatments, accidents or other trauma.
  5. 5. The first way of treating secondary lymphedema is called decongestant therapy where the goal is to mobilize the fluids. This can be done using several different methods including manual lymph drainage, compression bandages, exercise and massage of the affected area and also intermittent pneumatic compression. Although there really isn't a way to cure lymphedema, it is very possible to manage symptoms in a way that provide reasonable quality of life.
  6. 6. The most important first step you can take when dealing with lymphedema is to educate yourself. What type of an exercise program should you follow? Is a relation technique or maybe even yoga something that you should pursue? It's important to ask your doctor. There are also nutritional considerations as most in the medical community agree that Vitamin C, Zinc and High Bioavailable Protein are all beneficial in dealing with lymphedema. Most frustration with first time lymphedema sufferers are caused by the fear of the unknown, once you have a good understanding of the disease you will realize that it is quite manageable.
  7. 7. If you are an active person who likes to travel you will also want to experiment with a few of the compression bandages, socks or garments as these may be useful when you are away from home. As with most things, over time you will find ways to adapt and cope with lymphedema. The main thing is to have a good understanding of what helps and have some patience to learn in the beginning.
  8. 8. Resources: http://www.acols.com http://ezinearticles.com/?Understanding-Lymphedema- And-How-To-Manage-Your-Symptoms&id=6369501