The importance of the lymphatic system
for human health is tremendous.
Viruses, bacteria and waste are
collected by the lymph and transported
to lymph nodes where they are filtered.
Anything that interferes with the
functioning of the lymphatic system can
lead to weakened immune response,
swelling, shortness of breath and pain.
Lymphedema is one condition that
affects the functioning of the lymphatic
system. Knowing what it is and getting
accurate diagnosis will help for the
selection of the best treatment for
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a condition
characterized by the inability of the
lymph nodes to drain the lymph
adequately. It commonly occurs in
the limbs. Lymphedema can occur on
its own, in which case it is called
primary. Secondary lymphedema is
caused by another medical condition
like cancer or an infection.
The problem is characterized by a
wide range of symptoms. Individuals
that suffer from primary or secondary
lymphedema could experience any of
Swelling and pain in the area where
The swelling will affect the range of
Heaviness and a feeling of tightness
in the arm or the leg.
Asymmetry between the two arms or
Inflammation resulting from the longterm accumulation of lymph.
Suppressed functioning of the
A thorough medical
examination will enable a
physician to diagnose
lymphedema adequately. A
physician will also ask for the
patient's medical history to
identify a cause of secondary
lymphedema is the one that
occurs most commonly, which
is why doctors will try to
identify the health problem or
the procedure (surgery is one
example) that led to the
accumulation of lymph in the
arm or the leg.
Treatment Options for Lymphedema
The best treatment for
lymphedema depends on the
severity of the condition.
Elastic sleeves or stockings and
compression pumps are commonly
used by people who suffer from
lymphedema. A compression pump
comes with a sleeve and it delivers
sequential compression. The best
aspect of such devices is that they
can be used both at medical
facilities and at home.
Exercise is also incredibly beneficial for people that suffer
from lymphedema. The gentle contraction of the arm and
leg muscles enables the lymph to flow through the
lymphatic system more efficiently.
In more severe cases, a physician may recommend
surgery. Surgery will be needed in the case of a limb that
has swollen excessively and that affects the patient's
quality of life. The liquid buildup will be removed from the
tissue but lymph could possibly start accumulating there
Talking to a physician and understanding what the causes
of lymphedema are will help you pick the best treatment for
lymphedema. Lifestyle changes and the use of a
compression pump can deliver great results. You can also
rely on massages and exercise to improve lymph drainage
and to feel better.