Lymphedema Round Lake Beach & Mundelein, IL

Lymphedema

What is Lymphedema?

It is swelling that occurs in an arm or leg and sometimes both limbs. It is commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment, but sometimes occurs as a result of dysfunction of the lymph nodes idiopathically or sometimes even a few years after a trauma. It results from a blockage in your lymphatic system which prevents the fluid from draining.

Symptoms may include:

  • Swelling of part or all of your arm or leg, including fingers or toes
  • A feeling of heaviness or tightness
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Aching or discomfort
  • Recurring infections
  • Hardening and thickening of the skin (fibrosis)

The swelling may be mild or extreme making the limb hard to use. Lymphedema
may occur months or years after cancer treatment. Risk factors may include being an older age, having excess weight or obesity and rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.

Care should be taken to avoid injury to your affected limb. as cuts, scrapes and burns can invite infection. Don’t apply ice or heat to your affected limb and protect it from extreme cold. Whenever possible, elevate your affected limb above the level of your heart. Avoid anything that could constrict your arm or leg, such as tight fitting clothing and, in the case of your arm, blood pressure cuffs. Make skin and nail care high priorities. Inspect the skin on your arm or leg daily, watching for changes or breaks in your skin that could lead to infection. Don’t go barefoot.

Is there a cure for lymphedema?

There is no cure but it can be managed very well with Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). Our therapists are specially trained in MLD technique and can help you significantly manage this condition.

 

Living With Lymphedema

There are several things one can do to make living with Lymphedema easier:

  • Avoid trauma / injury to the area
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Don’t allow shots or blood draws on the affected limb when possible
  • Engage in moderate exercise approved by your physician or therapist
  • Don’t wear clothes, jewelry or shoes that limit circulation
  • Eat a balanced diet avoiding salt, alcohol, sugars and fatty foods
  • Keep skin mositurized to avoid cracking
  • Avoid sitting for extended periods to prevent swelling
  • Have blood pressure taken on unaffected arm
  • Maintain a healthy weight

The focus of our treatments will be to reduce swelling, bandaging to maintain that reduction and the use of therapeutic exercises to assist you in achieving the maximum results. Each case is based on the individual, their physical abilities and physician recommendations.

Call today to find out more about how we can help you with this condition.

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