If your arms or legs are swollen, feel heavy, or are difficult to move, you may have lymphedema. Lymphedema is a medical condition that slows the movement of lymphatic fluids within your body. This can cause skin thickening and increases the risk of recurrent infections and wounds.
Lymphedema can be painful and influence your daily life. Thankfully, many advanced treatments can effectively treat lymphedema. At Shaheen Vascular, we know how important your mobility is. That is why we are here to help you.
What Is Lymphedema?
Before seeking treatment, it is good to know the cause of your symptoms. Lymphedema is a type of swelling due to a blockage in your lymphatic vessels. It also occurs due to scarring of the thin and delicate lymphatic vessels that transport excess fluid that collects in spaces outside your cells.
These spaces are called the extracellular matrix. This fluid is specifically non-bloody. The network of lymph vessels is called the lymphatic system. This system is responsible for removing excess fluids found throughout your body to protect you from viruses and bacteria and process waste products.
When you have lymphedema, your body is unable to drain these excess fluids, which results in your arms and legs becoming swollen, limiting your range of motion, and giving your limbs a heavy or tight feeling.
What Causes Lymphedema?
Many things can cause lymphedema. However, it is rarely an inherited condition. There are also two types of lymphedema, namely primary lymphedema and secondary lymphedema.
Primary lymphedema is caused by mutations in the genes responsible for the development of your lymphatic system. The faulty or mutated genes cause parts of your lymphatic system that drain fluid not to function the way they should. Primary lymphedema may run in families but may not necessarily mean every child will be born with the condition.
Secondary lymphedema develops in people who previously had normal lymphatic system function that became damaged afterward. The following covers a few factors that contribute to the development of lymphedema.
Surgery for Cancer
While surgery may offer effective results for cancer, it may involve removing sections of the lymphatic system. It is not the intention to damage the lymphatic system during surgery. However, it is still possible that it may be damaged. This may occur after cancer treatment requires your lymph glands to be removed. Radiotherapy uses doses of controlled radiation to destroy cancerous tissue. Unfortunately, it may also damage healthy tissue in the process.
Infections such as cellulitis can cause the tissue around your lymphatic system to become scarred. This will result in lymphedema. Filariasis is another parasitic disease caused by microscopic worms. The adult worms live in your lymphatic system and block lymph drainage.
Medical conditions that result in tissue becoming red, swollen, and inflamed can cause permanent damage to your lymphatic system.
It is common for people who are obese to suffer from secondary lymphedema. This might be caused by extra fatty tissue that affects the lymphatic channels and reduces the flow of fluid.
Trauma or Injury
In rare cases, lymphedema has been caused by accidental injuries, such as a road accident that involves extensive bruising or soft tissue loss.
Treatments for Lymphedema
An effective method of treating lymphedema is locating an underlying varicose veins problem. These veins may not be visible to the naked eye. To locate them accurately, we use ultrasound.
If we identify a problematic varicose vein, your lymphedema will improve after minimally invasive treatment. If a varicose vein is not contributing to lymphedema, we use lymphedema management that is focused on preventing and controlling the symptoms experienced. This results in a patient living an enjoyable, pain-free life.
We offer many effective lymphedema therapy options, such as Lymphatic Compression Pump Therapy, Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD), calf muscle pump exercises, and Advanced Compression Therapy. Additionally, Dr. Shaheen often combines medical therapy to effectively treat lymphedema. These medical therapies include natural medical food-based products.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
MLD is a specialized therapy that involves massaging the target area. This mechanically propels the flow of lymphatic fluids. As the area is massaged, it is encouraged to naturally drain fluids and waste products to the correct areas of the body.
Lymphatic Compression Pump Therapy
An effective treatment for lymphedema and growing in popularity is Lymphatic Compression Pump Therapy. This procedure involves placing a sleeve over the affected area. Pressure is then applied to the area with air. This can be done in the comfort of your own home. The air pressure in the sleeve creates a massage motion that redirects the drainage buildup of lymphatic fluids, resulting in a reduction in swelling.
What Are Advanced Compression Therapies?
Advanced compression garments promote sufficient flow and drainage of lymph fluids, which are then distributed and processed by your body.
Your Initial Consultation
During your initial consultation, we will review your condition and equip you with a compression garment that properly fits the affected area. This will relieve you of the symptoms of lymphedema so that you can be comfortable and pain-free.
Get Relief From Lymphedema Today
If you are suffering from painful or uncomfortable legs and arms that are swollen and limiting your range of movement, you need an effective treatment. You don’t have to live in pain anymore. At Shaheen Vascular in Mountain View, CA, we offer a range of highly effective lymphedema management treatment options.