If you have unusual swelling in your arms or legs, you might be dealing with lymphedema. The term lymphedema refers to swelling in certain areas of your body. This occurs due to an abnormal collection of excess body fluids in one or more of your limbs.
You can have lymphedema in your arms or legs. The condition can also affect multiple limbs at once. Your lymphedema needs to be seen by a medical professional to protect your limbs and lymphatic system.
Turn to the Total Vascular Care medical team and vascular and endovascular surgeon Enrico Ascher, MD, to diagnose and treat your lymphedema. Dr. Ascher has the expertise you can trust when it comes to treating this incurable condition. The Total Vascular Care team treats new and existing patients from conveniently located Borough Park, Brooklyn, New York offices.
What causes lymphedema?
Lymphedema can spring from several causes. You might have primary lymphedema, caused by hereditary issues with your lymphatic system. Lymphedema can also result from secondary factors, such as damage related to cancer treatment, surgery on your blood vessels, or a bad burn.
Your lymphatic system is a component of your immune system. Throughout your body, lymph nodes circulate lymphatic fluid. If your lymph nodes are damaged, lymphatic fluid can’t drain properly, leading to swelling, decreased flexibility in the affected limb, and other feelings of discomfort like aches, weakness, or a sensation of heaviness or tightness.
Controlling your lymphedema
While lymphedema can’t be cured, your condition can absolutely benefit from professional management and support. When you know the facts about your condition, you can cope with your lymphedema symptoms. If you know you’re at risk for primary lymphedema, or have a mild case, Dr. Ascher can help you decrease swelling and avoid cases from occurring as much as possible.
You can do a lot just by adjusting some of your hygiene and household habits. If you’re affected by lymphedema, it’s key to keep your limbs clean, well-moisturized, and well-protected. Cover your hands in the kitchen and garden with protective gloves, and don’t go outside barefoot.
Some people find that therapeutic wrapping or bandaging can help encourage lymph fluid circulation. Dr. Ascher can show you the right way to apply a therapeutic wrap to a limb affected by lymphedema. It might even be helpful to change how you sit, or the bag or purse you carry, to avoid stressing your lymphatic system.
Professional treatment options to address swelling
Dr. Ascher often recommends that his patients affected by lymphedema use compression socks or sleeves to reduce swelling. Specially designed exercises can also encourage fluid drainage, while not tiring your vulnerable affected limb. If you have active cancer and don’t have a current skin infection or suffer from blood clots, you could benefit from massage techniques called manual lymph drainage, as well.
In more severe cases of lymphedema, you might need treatment with a surgical draining procedure to relieve swelling and pressure. Dr. Ascher and the Total Vascular Care team provide several types of surgical intervention that can help with lymphedema. We can remove excess tissue or even transplant healthy lymph nodes to rebalance your system.
To learn more about what you can do to keep thriving after lymphedema, or how to keep primary lymphedema under control, contact the experts at Total Vascular Care today. You can schedule an appointment at our New York, New York, offices by giving us a call, or use the online booking tool at your convenience.