Symptoms of lymphedema include swelling in one or more extremities. The swelling may range from mild to severe and disfiguring. Lymphedema is a condition that results from impaired flow of the lymphatic system.
Primary lymphedema is present at birth, caused by hereditary disfunctions; secondary lymphedema develops as a result of damage to or dysfunction of the lymphatic system caused by injury or sickness. Secondary lymphedema is most often caused in the U.S. by breast cancer treatments.
While there is no cure for lymphedema, swelling and discomfort can be reduced through the use of compression treatments and physical therapy
The lymphatic system is a network of specialized vessels throughout the body that collects excess lymph fluid with proteins, lipids, and waste products from the tissues. This excess fluid is then filtered through and disposed of or is pushed back into the bloodstream. When the lymph vessels are blocked or unable to carry lymph fluid away from the tissues, swelling occurs within the arms or legs (rarely both) causing mild to sever pain.