Lymphedema is commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as part of a cancer treatments. This causes a blockage in your lymphatic system which prevents lymph fluid from draining well and the fluid build up leads to uncomfortable swelling.
Symptoms of Lymphedema:
- Swelling in arms, legs, fingers, or toes;
- Feeling of heaviness or feeling of tightness;
- Restricted range of motion;
- Aching, or discomfort;
- Recurring infections;
- Hardening and thickening of the skin (also called fibrosis).
The swelling caused by lymphedema may be mild and hardly noticeable, or extreme, rendering your limb difficult to use. It may show up soon after cancer treatments or many years after the treatment.
Some factors that increase your risk of developing lymphedema after cancer, or other causes are:
- Older age,
- Excessive weight or obesity,
- Rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
Letting Lymphedema in your arms or legs go unchecked can lead to other serious complications, such as:
- Infections – cellulitis, or lymphagitis,
- Lymphagiosarcoma – soft tissue cancer.
Treating your Lymphedema
The best treatments to reduce the swelling an control the pain of lymphedema are:
- Using compression wraps on arms or legs
- Massage – special massages called manual lymph drainage may encourage the flow of lymph fluid out of your arm or leg
- Pneumatic compression
- Compression garments
- Complete decongestive therapy
Things to do:
- Avoid Tight clothing
- Avoid Heat or ice on arms or legs
- Elevate affected limb
- Keep limbs clean – watch for breaks in skin that could lead to infections
While doctors and other medical professionals claim that there is no cure for Lymphedema, anecdotal evidence from sufferers has shown that it can be managed so well, that they no longer suffer any symptoms of Lymphedema.
Following is a list of things that Lymphedema sufferers have done to “cure” their Lymphedema:
- Not Eating ANY processed or highly acidic foods
- Add in Lots of green plant foods
- Wear Compression stockings
- Drink lots of water every day
- Exercise regularly
- Meditation and visualization
- Dry skin brushing
- Take supplements