If you start to notice that one of your arms or legs feels and looks larger than the other, it could be due to a form of swelling called lymphedema. At Goldman Vein Institute in Jupiter and Wellington, Florida, board-certified vascular specialists Saluja Varghese, MD, RVT, RPVI, Alexander Goldman, MD, RVT, RPVI, and their team specialize in diagnosing lymphedema and helping you manage the swelling. For more information about lymphedema and its causes, request an appointment by phone or online at Goldman Vein Institute today.
Lymphedema is a medical term for swelling in your arms or legs. It usually occurs on just one side of your body at a time, but you might get it in both arms or legs.
Lymphedema happens because of fluid accumulation. This happens when one of your lymph nodes becomes blocked or agitated, causing fluid to build up in the region instead of draining naturally.
Your swelling can range from mild and hardly noticeable to severe and disfiguring. Your swollen limb might ache or feel uncomfortable and cause you to have difficulty moving. You should request an appointment at Goldman Vein Institute if you notice new or increasing swelling in one of your arms or legs, even if it doesn’t restrict your range of motion yet.
Lymphedema develops because of blockages in your lymphatic system. If you have primary lymphedema, these blockages occur naturally because of genetics. Secondary lymphedema blockages occur because of outside factors like:
You’re at a higher risk of getting lymphedema if you’re overweight or obese. While you can’t always prevent lymphedema, you can reduce your chances of getting it by wearing loose-fitting clothing, keeping your limbs clean, and protecting them from injury.
You might experience complications that are harder to treat if you don’t treat or manage your lymphedema. Possible complications of lymphedema include:
Lymphangiosarcoma is a type of cancer affecting your soft tissues. Small blue, red, or purple marks on the skin of your affected limb may be signs of lymphangiosarcoma.
Untreated lymphedema can lead to bacterial infections. If you get a cut or lesion on your swollen limb, bacteria can enter and cause an infection.
The team at Goldman Vein Institute specializes in diagnosing and managing lymphedema no matter the cause. They might use imaging tests, like computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to view your lymph nodes for signs of damage.
There is no cure for lymphedema, but the team at Goldman Vein Institute can help you reduce the swelling and any other symptoms that come with it. They might recommend:
If you have highly severe lymphedema that isn’t treatable with these approaches, the team might refer you for surgery. During surgery for lymphedema, a surgeon might remove excess tissue from your swollen limb or perform a lymph node transplant.
If you experience swelling in an arm or leg, don’t hesitate to call Goldman Vein Institute for expert lymphedema diagnosis and management today. You can also request an appointment online.