The lymphatic system carries and removes excess fluid called lymph from your muscles and tissue. It also plays an important role in protecting the body against illness and infections. Removal of or damage to lymph nodes and/or vessels change the way lymph fluids flow. If the remaining lymph vessels cannot remove enough of the excess fluid, the lymph fluid builds up and causes swelling, or edema, hence the name lymphedema.
Signs of Lymphedema include:
Arm/leg feels full or heavy and/or skin feels tight
Less movement or flexibility in the hand, wrist, leg, knee or ankle
Difficulty fitting an arm or leg into clothing or feet into shoes
Ring, watch or bracelet feels tight, but you have not gained weight
Lymphedema can be managed through therapy provided by a trained therapist prescribed by your physician. The goal is to reduce the swelling, then maintain that loss to decrease the risk of infection and the progression of lymphedema.
Lymphedema can be treated by providing:
Seeking and receiving treatment early should lead to a shorter course of treatment to get your lymphedema under control. People who do not have lymphedema, but have either damaged lymphatic system or abnormal swelling can use the education, massage, compression and exercise portions of the lymphedema program to reduce the risk of developing lymphedema or decrease the abnormal swelling.
Treatment for lymphedema is provided by the Occupational Therapy Department at the Mansfield Hospital by a certified and trained lymphedema therapist.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 419-526-8685; or send
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated August 30, 2012