Millions of people worldwide are affected by lymphedema, and many breast cancer patients who have had lymph nodes removed or radiation face an increased risk. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of lymphedema so you can recognize it early and start treatment right away.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is swelling that occurs when lymph, a protein rich fluid, accumulates in an area. Lymph normally circulates throughout our bodies, much like blood. However, sometimes this fluid starts to pool in an area such as a leg or arm. The number one cause of arm lymphedema is damage to lymphatics during breast cancer treatment. Leg lymphedema, on the other hand, may be the result of lymph node injury in the groin or chronic circulatory problems.
While there is no cure for lymphedema, there is treatment which can minimize the swelling and maximize quality of life. The golden standard of treatment is known as Complete Decongestive Therapy which includes manual decongestion (a specialized type of massage), exercise, education and most importantly, compression.
Woman’s Lymphedema Program
Woman’s Therapy Department currently has three Certified Lymphedema Therapists with over 25 years combined experience in treating lymphedema. Our therapists work with patients to minimize lymphedema, maximize function and fit compression garments to help keep lymphedema under control. We also offer a warm-water group exercise class designed specifically for patients with lymphedema.
To learn more visit our website or call 225-924-8450.