Lymphedema is also known as Lymphatic obstruction. Lymphedema is caused by a blockage in your lymphatic system, an important part of your immune and circulatory systems. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and as the fluid builds up, the swelling continues. Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes a part of cancer treatment. There is no cure for lymphedema, but it can be controlled. ("National cancer institute," 2011) Lymphedema symptoms includes: Swelling of part of your arm or leg or your entire arm or leg, including your fingers or toes, a feeling of heaviness or tightness in your arm or leg, restricted range of motion in your arm or leg, aching or discomfort in your arm or leg, Recurring infections in your affected limb, and hardening and thickening of the skin on your arm or leg. The swelling caused by lymphedema can range from mild, barely noticeable swelling to severe, extreme swelling that makes it impossible to use the affected limb. If the lymphedema is caused from cancer treatment, you might not notice any swelling for months if not years after the treatment. ("National cancer institute," 2011) Lymphedema occurs when your lymph vessels are unable to adequately drain lymph fluid, usually from an arm or leg. Lymphedema can be either primary or secondary. This means it can occur on its own (primary lymphedema) or it can be caused by another disease or condition (secondary lymphedema). Secondary lymphedema is far more common than primary lymphedema. Primary lymphedema causes include Milroy’s disease, Meige’s disease, and late onset lymphedema. Both Milroy’s disease and Meige’s disease are both hereditary disorders. Secondary lymphedema causes include surgery, radiation, infection, and cancer. Pretty much any condition or procedure that damages your lymph nodes or lymph vessels can cause lymphedema. Lymphedema in your arm or legs can cause serious complications such as...
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