What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a highly under-diagnosed condition that affects the lymphatic vessels, which are responsible for transporting protein-rich lymph fluid back into the circulatory system. When lymph vessels are unable to transport this fluid properly, a build-up occurs, resulting in swelling and the thickening of the skin.
Who is at risk?
If you have had a mastectomy, lumpectomy, radiation treatment, lymph node removal, surgeries, infections, or trauma to the limbs, you may be at risk for developing lymphedema.
How can I tell if I have lymphedema?
A common indicator of lymphedema is indentations that do not immediately disappear after the skin has been depressed by the hand or fingers. This condition is usually found in the legs and arms; however, lymphedema can affect any region of the body. Many people with lymphedema are labeled over-weight, yet lymphedema is not about fat storage.
Using Compression Therapy
Although there is no cure, lymphedema can be managed. Wearing compression garments is one of the most important aspects of managing lymphedema. Compression garments are designed to keep a continuous pressure on the swollen/affected area to assist the drainage of fluid and minimize swelling.
If you’re concerned that you may have lymphedema, consult a trained MLD therapist or your primary care provider for a proper evaluation.