What are lymphedemas?
Lymphedemas are a disorder affecting the lymph vessels which transport the protein-rich lymphatic fluid back to the bloodstream. When the lymph vessels are unable to transport this fluid properly, an accumulation occurs resulting in swelling and thickening of the skin.
Who is in the risk zone?
If you have undergone radiotion theraphy, had lymph node removed, done an operation or if your arms/legs have been exposed to a lot of strain, you may be in the risk group of developing lymphedemas.
How do I know if I have lymphedemas?
The early signs of lymphedemas may be feelings of heaviness or tension in the arms/legs. Other signs can include the occurrence of distinct and enduring markings on the skin from tight-fitting clothing or jewelry, e.g. a stocking leg or wristwatch. This condition usually affects legs and arms, but lymphedemas can also affect other parts of the body. To check for lymphedemas on yourself, press the skin for 10 seconds. If the skin does not return to its original position straight away without leaving an indentation, this is a sign of edemas. Contact your doctor if you think you may have lymphedemas.
Although their is no cure for lymphedemas, the condition can be controlled by therapy. Wearing compression clothing is one of the most important aspects of lymphedema management. Compression clothing is designed to keep a continuous pressure on the swollen/affected area to aid drainage of fluid and minimize swelling.