Wednesday, May 09, 2018 by Michelle Simmons
Also known as lymphatic obstruction, lymphedema is a type of swelling that occurs when lymph builds up in the body’s soft tissues. Lymph is a fluid that contains white blood cells that fight against germs. It can accumulate when the lymph system is impaired or blocked. Usually, it occurs in the arms or legs. Lymphedema can occur due to infection, cancer, scar tissue from radiation therapy or surgical removal of lymph nodes, or inherited conditions wherein lymph nodes or vessels are absent or abnormal.
The hallmark sign of lymphedema is swelling in all or a part of a limb or another part of the body. Other symptoms of lymphedema can include aching, heavy feeling, difficulty with movement, repeated skin infections, hard, tight skin, folds developing in the skin, wart-like growths on the skin, and fluid leaking through the skin. Due to the swelling, a person with lymphedema may find it hard to fit into clothes, while jewelry and watches can feel tight. Lymphedema can also lead to other complications such as cellulitis, which is a bacterial infection of the deep layer of skin. Lymphedema can also affect the psychological health of a person, often leading to depression.
The primary body system harmed by lymphedema is the lymphatic system as it is a problem with the lymph. The integumentary, circulatory, and immune systems are also harmed by lymphedema.
There is no information on what foods or nutrients exactly prevent lymphedema. However, there are dietary recommendations for people with the condition. The diet of a person with lymphedema must have enough protein. The lack of protein can cause the fluid seeping from the bloodstream into the tissues, which will worsen lymphedema. Sources of healthy protein include legumes, eggs, tofu, lean meats, poultry, fish, nuts, and seeds. Other dietary suggestions include limiting sodium and calorie intake and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
There is no cure for lymphedema. However, treatment can help improve the symptoms of the condition. One of the management plans for lymphedema is complex decongestive therapy (CDT). It begins with an intensive therapy phase, during which the patient receives daily treatment and training. After that, the patient goes into the maintenance phase wherein the patient is encouraged to take over their own care using techniques that they have been taught. CDT is composed of remedial exercises, skincare, special massage techniques, and multi-layer lymphedema bandaging.
Herbs can also be used to treat the swelling of the lymph nodes. Butcher’s broom, ginger, and sweet clover can increase lymphatic flow, reduce swelling, and reduce inflammation.
Lymphedema is a type of swelling that occurs when lymph builds up in the body’s soft tissues.
Lymphedema causes swelling, aching, heavy feeling, difficulty with movement, repeated skin infections, hard, tight skin, folds developing in the skin, wart-like growths on the skin, and fluid leaking through the skin.
Lymphedema affects the lymphatic, integumentary, circulatory, and immune systems.
Lymphedema can be treated with complex decongestive therapy (CDT).
The swelling caused by lymphedema can be treated with herbs, such as butcher’s broom, ginger, and sweet clover.
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