What is lymphedema?
Many people know it as elephantitis or elephant man disease. It is an incurable process that can happen at birth or due to trauma to the lymphatic system. It is a system that drains a portion of the fluid that goes out to feed the cells of our body. It also removes many larger molecules, particularly protein that no other system removes. In the USA the leading cause of lymphedema is cancer surgery where there is removal or disruption of parts of the lymphatic system. Without that system functioning correctly those large proteins get stuck and start to effect the skin and surrounding tissues.
What is the difference between edema and lymphedema?
Edema happens usually from an acute trauma either accidental or surgical. The body are collects too much water. Lymphedema happens when that water sits in an area to long and protein molecules collect in that water and start to change the tissues.
What causes lymphedema?
In the USA the leading cause is surgical removal or parts of the lymphatic system often in part due to cancer surgery.
Is there a cure for lymphedema?
Once a person has lymphedema it tends to reoccur. We can treat it and manage it, but often it does not go away because it usually results from an insult to the lymphatic system.
How and who treats lymphedema?
Certified lymphedema therapist are the most qualified to treat lymphedema. I teach a certification program at UWM to certify other therapists to treat this condition. I also do a lot of local consulting and teaching. It is treated with specialized massage and bandaging techniques and supplemental skin care and exercises.
What are the consequences of not treating lymphedema?
Left untreated lymphedema tends to worsen and can lead to the elephant man looking legs or arms.
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-- First Choice Home Health & Hospice
- Care to Stay Home